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A reminder: new septic tank regulations for 2020 and beyond

| Michael Quinn

A reminder: new septic tank regulations for 2020 and beyond
A reminder: new septic tank regulations for 2020 and beyond

Many of our customers, particularly those in rural areas with no access to the main sewage system, will have a septic tank installed somewhere on their property. As of 1 January this year, the General Binding Rules, which set the standards for septic tanks, changed, meaning that systems that do not follow the correct procedures have to be replaced. If they are not, the property, the tank belongs to will not be sold until the system is updated, and having an out-of-date septic tank could even lead to the Environment Agency has to take action.

Here at ASL, we have many years of expertise in handling septic tanks, soakaways and sewage treatment plants, so we are up to date with the new septic tank legislations. Below, we have provided information on what the new septic system regulations enforce and what you can do to make sure your tank complies with the new rules.

If you are the owner of a septic tank and you know it needs replacing or updating, or if you need your system pumped, cleaned or maintained, get in touch with us today. As a professional drainage company, we will be happy to provide you with the service you need for your sewage system.

New regulations on septic tanks

The last set of changes to the rules on wastewater regulations in the UK came in January 2015. The septic tank regulations attached to this stated that:

Septic tank systems must be located at least 7m from any inhabitable part of a building.

  • They should be located within 30m of an access point for ease of emptying.
  • They must be built and installed to minimise the risk of flooding or leaking.
  • They should not be able to contaminate any water supplies (for newly built tanks).
  • They have to be able to work in the event of a power failure.
  • They should be of a reasonable size to store the correct amount of waste.
  • They must have suitable ventilation.
  • They must meet the British Standard when installed or have a CE mark.

As of this month (January 2020), the septic system regulations were updated so that:

Whether new or previously installed, any discharge from your septic tank must go to a soakaway or drainage field, not into a ditch or local watercourse. 

Even though it has previously been established that newly built tanks could not be installed to discharge into a watercourse, such as a river or a stream, this part of the septic tank legislation did not apply to systems that had been installed before the rules came into force. This meant that if you already had a system on your property that was sending wastewater into a local ditch or watercourse, you would be allowed to continue using it. 

The only exception to this was if the Environment Agency found that your tank was causing pollution to the local area. Now that the septic tank regulations have been updated, this is no longer the case, and you will need to take action if you have a septic system that does not meet the new expectations.

How you can meet the new septic tank regulations

As a professional drainage company, we can recommend two main methods of ensuring your septic tank meets the UK's new wastewater regulations. These are:

  • Replace your septic tank with a sewage treatment plant
  • Install a new drainage field or soakaway system on your property
  • Installing a Sewage Treatment Plant

This form of sewage system produces cleaner water than the discharge produced by a septic tank, meaning that the wastewater can continue to be sent into a watercourse rather than discharged to the ground.

Installing a drainage field or soakaway

This takes wastewater from your tank and discharges it into the ground on your property, where it will disperse and not cause pollution.

Is your system affected by the new septic tank regulations?

If your septic tank does not discharge into or near a watercourse and otherwise complies with the rules established by the current septic tank legislation, then you are operating within the law. You will not have to have your system updated or replaced, and there will be no restrictions if you wish to sell your property. 

If you are not sure if the septic tank on your property complies, whether you had it installed or if it was there when you bought the place, you will need to find out where it discharges and get your system inspected by a qualified professional as soon as possible.

We replace, update and maintain septic tanks

At ASL, our team is made up of highly qualified professional drainage engineers, up to date with all information regarding septic tanks, new rules that they must comply with and procedures for installing or maintaining new systems. We can arrive at your property in no time at all to survey your drains before discussing your options.

If your system needs replacing with a new one, we will be happy to install one to ensure your tank meets all the specified guidelines. We will even be able to return to you regularly to pump, clean, and maintain your system whenever needed.

For more information about septic tanks and new rules and regulations that they must follow this year, contact us today. We will help you check that you are operating within the law and discuss what action you need to take, if any. 

If you are unsure if your septic tank complies or know that it does not, please get in touch right away.

We will send one of our team members to inspect your tank before scheduling an installation if your system needs updating. We want to help you have the best, most up-to-date septic system possible, so we will do everything we can to get your septic tank working to regulation.

Don’t delay we can help you today!

Call 0800 181 684 for all your drainage needs.

Our HQ is based in Guildford, but we cover the whole of Surrey, Parts of Berkshire, Hampshire, West Sussex and South West London.

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