Upgrade your Septic Tank before the 2020 deadline. Under the Environmental Agency General Binding Rules released in January 2015, you will need to take action if you have a septic tank that discharges into a body of surface water such as a ditch, stream or river.
WHY ARE THE NEW REGULATIONS COMING INTO PLACE?
One of the most common ways of discharging waste from a septic tank is into a watercourse; this is generally a local stream or river. The Environmental Agency has now determined that the quality of this wastewater from these septic tanks is not fit to be discharged without causing pollution.
A sewage treatment plant produces water that is clean enough to discharge straight into a watercourse without the risk of pollution.
HOW TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE
There are a number of ways in which you can ensure compliance with the new requirements before the 2020 deadline:
- Replace your current septic tank with a sewage treatment plant (also known as a package treatment plant) that meets the required British Standard.
- Install a drainage field system that meets the required British Standard.
- Upgrade your old septic tank to one that can treat water to the same standard as a sewage treatment plant.
- Connect to a mains sewer system instead.
RULES FOR NEW TREATMENT SYSTEMS
Under the General Binding Rules, you must ensure that your new drainage field or sewage treatment system meet the relevant British Standards that were in place at the time of installation. The standards currently in place are:
- Septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants – BS EN 12566.
- Drainage fields – BS 6297:2007.
HOW TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE
In addition to the rules above, the following applies if:
- Your discharge from a septic tank or small sewage treatment plant started on or after 1st January 2015.
- You had a discharge to the ground before 1st January 2015 which you now want to change to a discharge to surface water or vice versa.
- You had a discharge to the ground before 1st January 2015 and you want to install a new drainage field more than 10 metres away from the existing one or which goes to different surface water.
Under the additional rules, you will need to ensure:
- You have Planning Permission and Building Regulation approval before the installation of a new sewage treatment plant.
- There is no public sewer within 30 metres of the building your treatment plant serves.
- The discharge point is not in or near designated sensitive areas such as areas of conservation.
- The surface water has a flow.
- If using a partial drainage field, you’ll need to ensure it meets requirements.
Find out more about the additional rules for treatment systems installed on or after January 1st 2015 here.