Septic Tank Regulations 2020 England and Wales
Homeowners, what are your responsibilities?
Under the new code of practice by the Environment Agency, homeowners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the sewage treatment system on their property and to limit its impact on the local environment.
What is the situation?
Since January 2015, new rules relating to sewage treatment discharge came into effect in England and Wales. All direct discharge from a septic tank into a watercourse, such a river, a lake or a stream, will no longer be permitted.
An upgrade or a replacement of the existing septic tank will be required.
Who is affected?
Any homeowner, in England or Wales, who currently has a septic tank directly discharging into a watercourse.
What are the deadlines?
This upgrade to your sewage treatment system must be in place by January 1, 2020, or when you sell the property (if selling before this date).
If the Environmental Agency finds that you are currently polluting surface water as a result of discharge from a septic tank, you will be required to install a new system before 2020.
In certain situations, you are given up to one year to upgrade, this is decided on a case by case basis.
What are the options?
If your septic tank is discharging directly into a watercourse, three solutions are available:
1. Connect to the main sewer. However, this option is unavailable in a lot of remote areas.
2. Install a drainage field or soakaway system. This is also known as an infiltration system and allows the septic tank to discharge to the ground instead of the watercourse.
Please note that, in many cases, the installation of a soakaway is not possible due to site constraints such as space and/or the soil not having sufficient soakaway potential such clay soil.
3. Upgrade your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant, eliminating the need for any drainage field.