Do you have a septic tank? Are you aware of the new septic tank legislation? Any violation of these regulations can cause you to suffer an unwanted fine of up to £100,000!
If you are building, reside in, or own property off the mains drainage network, it is important that you make yourself aware of the new septic tank legislation which came into force at the beginning of the year. (Please note that there are different rules for septic tanks and treatment plants in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
Currently, any property that is not on the mains sewer will have its sewage waste dealt with by one of the following methods:
1. A septic tank – an underground tank where the solids sink to the bottom and the liquid flows out through a network of drainage pipes and soaks through the ground. Septic tanks discharging into a drainage field are not affected by the new soakaway regulations.
2. A small sewage treatment plant – a part mechanical system that treats the liquid so that it’s clean enough to go into a river or stream.
3. A cesspool – a sealed tank that collects the sewage.
4. A non-standard system – such as a disused well, reed bed or trench system.
The beginning of this month (1st January 2020) was the deadline set by the Environment Agency to require all septic tanks that discharge directly to surface water drains, (e.g. ditches, streams, canals, rivers) to be replaced, or upgraded to a full sewage treatment plant. If you have a septic tank, by law, you must now make sure that your system is properly maintained and does not cause pollution.
If you do have a septic tank or similar waste-water system, you are required to register its details with your local authority and pay the required registration fee. You have ninety days to register following the installation of the new system.