2020 Septic Tank Changes – What you need to know

Spring drain

Septic tanks may not always be your preferred topic for a little light reading, but in this case, if you own a property or are considering buying or selling a property with a septic tank anytime soon, this is information you really need to know.

There have always been a number of best practice guidelines and legislation in place to govern the use of septic tanks. Clearly, given what goes into them, it’s essential to have some rules in place to make sure the contents remain in the tank and do not find their way into the watercourse. Those rules dictate things like where they should be placed, what can go into them and where the waste water from the tank can go. But now the rules have changed.

What’s new?

It used to be the case that homeowners in the East of England could ‘discharge’ the waste water from within a septic tank in two ways. That was by either draining it to:

– A drainage field or soakaway system – In this case, the water filters through holes or slots in the pipework and is effectively treated as it flows through the surrounding sub-soils. This allows the water to be removed without polluting the local environment.

– A watercourse – The waste water flows through a sealed pipe and straight to a local watercourse.

However, the new regulations released in 2015, called the General binding rules: small sewage discharge to a surface water, mean waste water from a septic tank can no longer flow directly into a local watercourse.

What does this mean for you?

This rule has been in place for some time now and prevents property owners in the East of England from installing a new septic tank that discharges to a watercourse. For properties that already have a septic tank discharging to a watercourse, their septic tanks are allowed to remain in place unless the Environment Agency has identified the particular tank as a cause of pollution.

But that will change from January 2020. From that point on, any property which has a septic tank that drains to a watercourse must be replaced or upgraded. This is particularly pertinent to those looking to buy or sell a property, as those selling the property must upgrade their systems before they do so. This is something the prospective buyers would be wise to check had been done.

So what should you do?

There are two main ways you can comply with the new regulations. That includes:

– Use a sewage plant – Sewage treatment plants produce waste water which is considered much cleaner than the discharge from septic tanks.

– Install a drainage field or soakaway system – This allows the waste water from a septic tank to disperse safely into the ground without causing pollution.

How can we help?

At Anglia Drain Doctor, we provide a range of septic tank services across the East of England, including the installation of soakaway systems to help you comply with the new legislation. For more information, please get in touch with our team today.

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