2020 Septic Tank Regulations

What has changed with septic tank legislation?

Under the new 2020 code of practice business and home owners are in charge of the installation and maintenance of the sewage treatment system on their property and to reduce its impact on the local environment.

How do I comply with 2020 septic tank regulations?

There are two ways in which you can comply with the latest septic tank regulations:

Replace your septic tank

Replace your septic tank for a sewage treatment plant which produces water that’s clean enough to discharge straight to a waterway. It uses mechanical parts to oxygenate the microorganisms. This makes them more effective at treating effluent and means they can discharge treated wastewater into flowing water or a drain field.


Install a soakaway system

Install a soakaway system or a drain field. Essentially, these take the wastewater from your septic tank, and discharge it safely into the ground without causing pollution. Septic drain fields are sub surface waste water disposal facilities used to remove contaminants and impurities from the liquid that emerges after anaerobic digestion in a septic tank.

What happens if I am selling my home?

If you’re selling your property the ‘General Binding Rules’ stipulate that you must replace your system with a compliant system prior to selling your home. It is also the seller’s duty to inform potential buyers in writing if a property has a septic tank – including its maintenance requirements and its exact location.


Is my septic tank the appropriate capacity?

Your sewage treatment system must be large enough to handle the maximum amount of sewage it will need to treat. If you install a new small sewage treatment plant you must check that it meets the sizing requirements in British Water’s Flows and Loads 4 guidance.

If the amount of sewage the system needs to treat increases (for example, because you’ve extended your property or connected an additional property) you must make sure the treatment system is still big enough. You must also recalculate the maximum daily volume of your discharge and apply for a permit if it is more than 5 cubic metres (5,000 litres) a day.

What else do I need to know?

You need to ensure your tank is maintained and emptied on a regular basis by a professional (e.g., a registered waste carrier) in line with the manufacturer’s directions.

Make sure your septic system is correctly sized and installed, according to the new septic tank installation regulations. Always consult the Government’s Approved Document H before undertaking any installation.

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