Updated: 5 February 2020
From the 1st January 2020 new regulations came into force for properties with septic tanks. If you are thinking of selling or are currently marketing your home for sale and have a septic tank, you may need to act now.
Previously you could “discharge” the separated waste water from your septic tank through one of two ways: either into a drainage field/soakaway system or into a watercourse such as a stream or river.
For a number of years property owners have not been allowed to install a new system that discharges into a watercourse, however, providing your existing septic tank wasn’t identified by the Environment Agency as causing pollution, you were not obliged to change it.
However:- From January 1st you are no longer allowed to discharge from a septic tank into a watercourse of any other type of soakaway system other than a drainage field.
The reason for this is that the “quality” of the waste water is no longer considered clean enough to flow straight into local watercourses or soakaway systems without causing pollution.
If your septic tank discharges into a watercourse, not a soakaway or drainage field then you must upgrade your system by either swapping your septic tank for a sewage treatment plant or if possible, install a drainage field. If you are unsure as to where your septic tank currently discharges you may want to make further investigations to ensure you are compliant with the new legislation.