Septic tank systems are widely used in rural areas of the UK
Septic tanks are of different shapes, sizes and materials. They can be brick built, concrete, whilst modern ones are made of glass reinforced plastic.
Some septic tanks discharge through pipework straight to a watercourse or ditch. Property owners with this type of drainage system should be aware that discharging from a septic tank straight to a watercourse or ditch is no longer allowed
New septic tank rules were introduced on the 1st January 2015 by DEFRA and the Environment Agency. These septic tank rules were introduced to simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated, and are referred to as ‘The General Binding Rules’. These rules set out the conditions that septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants need to meet in order to be used.
Since 1 January 2020, it became illegal for any septic tank in England to discharge effluent directly into a watercourse such as a river, stream or pond.
Septic Tanks need to comply with British Standard BS6297 2007 in England or registered with the appropriate body in Scotland and Wales
The system must meet the ‘general binding rules’ if you’re responsible for (the ‘operator’ of) either:
a septic tank (an underground tank where the solids sink to the bottom and the liquid flows out and soaks through the ground)
a small sewage treatment plant (also known as a ‘package treatment plant’ - a system that treats the liquid so it’s clean enough to go into the ground or a surface water)
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