New rules for septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants

As part of ongoing efforts to improve water quality and reduce pollution, new rules were introduced in January 2015 that simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated in England.These rules, known as 'GENERAL BINDING RULES' simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated in England. By law, you must comply with these rules by ensuring your system is maintained properly and does not cause pollution.

Environment Agency sewage poster

Environment Agency sewage poster

NEW RULES FOR SEPTIC TANKS AND SMALL SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS

 New rules for the operation of septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants came into effect in January 2015. These rules, known as 'GENERAL BINDING RULES' simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated in England. By law, you must comply with these rules by ensuring your system is maintained properly and does not cause pollution.

 Extra protection is in place in rare habitats and sensitive environments, where people may need to apply for a permit if they want to install a new system.

 Whilst the Environment Agency has powers to enforce compliance, it prefers to offer advice and guidance to help people comply. For further information go to www.gov.uk/small-sewage-rules or call the Environment Agency on 030708 506 506

 

DISCHARGES TO A SURFACE WATER

Discharges from septic tanks directly to a surface water are not allowed under the 'general binding rules'. If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to a surface water you will need to replace or upgrade your treatment system by 1 January 2020, or when you sell your property if before this date.

 You may be able to:

•      install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) so the septic tank can discharge to the ground instead

•      replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant

 If the Environment Agency finds evidence that your septic tank discharging to a surface water is causing pollution, you will need to replace or upgrade your system before 1 January 2020.

 More information and advice can be found on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small- sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water