Septic Tank Regulations 2020 – What You Need to Know

Posted by in Chartsedge News on the 8th of January 2020

New Septic Tank Regulations for 2020

If you own property off the mains drainage network it is crucial that you’re in the know about the changing septic tank regulations. In an attempt to take measures against water pollution, the Environment Agency has laid down new rules, which mean you’ve until 1st January 2020 to upgrade or replace your septic system.

Are you breaking the law?

If your Septic Tank discharges into surface water (stream, river, ditch, surface water drain etc) it will need to have been replaced by 1st of January 2020. Under Environment Agency Septic Tank General Binding Rules it must be replaced by a full sewage treatment plant which can cost many £1,000’s. However this is peanuts compared to the possible £100,000 fine you could receive by not carrying out the works!

Septic Tanks Explained…

septic tank 2020A septic tank settles the solids in the wastewater and then discharges the liquid septic waste to the ground through a well designed and made drainage field – Not an Ezy drain, tunnel, soakaway crate, or soakaway pit. These are inadmissible for wastewater dispersal.

Septic tanks cannot discharge to surface water drains, rivers, canals, ditches, streams or any other type of waterway. If the septic tank drains into a drainage field this has to be a certain distance away from a water course, so we would suggest you contact your local waste drainage expert to discuss this.

(A Drainage Field is also known as an infiltration system, it is a series of pipes with holes placed in trenches and arranged so that the effluent can trickle through the ground for further treatment.)

septic tank regulationsUnder the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

All septic tanks that as of today discharge into waterways must be either:

  • Replaced, using sewage treatment plants with full BS EN 12566-3 Documentation, or
  • The discharge to the waterway impeded and redirected to a drain field, designed and made according to the up-to-date British Standard BS6297 2007

Selling Your Property & Septic Tank Regulations 2020

The majority of homeowners that have an old septic tank system do not know about these rules, as they have not been widely advertised. Many agents have had problems with sales recently as more and more solicitors are becoming aware of this new requirement and the homeowners find they are not able to sell their property before the works have been carried out. It is the homeowners responsibility to do this and must be done before completion at their own cost.

Some of our clients had their septic tank discharging into a field and whilst on paper this is acceptable, there are rules pertaining to how close it should be to a stream, river or ditch. Before bringing your property to the market we advise you to contact a respected contractor to survey your septic tank to check if it complies.

Even if your system complies with the septic tank regulations 2020, do make sure that you have your tank emptied and inspected before your property comes to the market, as you can guarantee that the solicitors will ask questions about when it was last emptied. I cant deny, I never understand why some sellers get a bit funny when buyers ask them to have their septic tank emptied before they take possession ….. I feel that this is a fair and reasonable request!

Contacts for you:

For Devon

Emptying your septic tank – Always Cleansing

Survey and replacing septic tank –  Jet a Drain

For Cornwall

Emptying your Septic Tank  – Cornwall – Youngs

Survey and replacing septic tank – Cornwall Drains

We hope this information for septic tank regulations 2020 helps with the buying of selling of you home. Contact Chartsedge to discuss the marketing of your property in Devon and Cornwall, or call us on 01803 505115