New Regulations for septic tanks

If you are purchasing a property that has a septic tank that discharges directly to surface water, it will need to replaced or upgraded by 1st January 2020.

Properties with septic tanks that discharge directly to surface water which are sold before 1st January 2020 the responsibility for the replacement or upgrading of the existing treatment system should be addressed between the buyer and seller as a condition of sale.

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

There are various options available which comply with the new regulations:-

  • connect to a mains sewer (where available)
  • install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) so that the septic tank can discharge to ground
  • replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant

The homeowner can also apply for a permit if they do not meet the general binding rules; however, permits are only granted in exceptional circumstances. If upgrading the system by installing a septic tank conversion unit, you should contact the Environment Agency to ensure it meets the required standard, but a permit will still be necessary.

Further information can be obtained by visiting https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water.