Are you ready for the 1 st January 2020 binding rules! Does your property have a septic tank which discharges to a watercourse? Or are you thinking of buying a property with a current septic tank system? If so, there is a very important change in the law which you must know about and comply with. Although this might not be the most interesting article to read, it’s a must if you have a septic tank as you could be breaking the law if you don’t adhere to the 2020 binding rules for sewage
discharge to a surface water (ditch, stream, river, etc).

Septic tank systems should discharge into a professionally designed drainage field which is allowed by the Environment Agency if the septic tank is of a modern construction. Septic tanks are not allowed to discharge into a water course which includes streams, ditches, rivers, canals or any other types of watercourse. If you do have a septic tank which discharges into a watercourse, the system must be upgraded to a modern sewage treatment plant and an Environment Agency Discharge license must be obtained. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine and you could also be polluting your local watercourse and environment, which could be detrimental for wildlife, fish and those living nearby.

Environmental Drain Services can take away the worry of wondering if you are complying with the new 2020 binding rules with just a telephone call and site visit. We are happy to put your mind at ease and inform you of your current discharge status and answer whether or not your sewage system is meeting the legal requirements. If your system needs to be upgraded, we are one of the leading sewage treatment plant installers in the country with over 30 years of experience. We work directly with the Environment Agency and can apply for a discharge licence on your behalf, removing the hassle from you and guaranteeing your system is compliant to the 2020 rules. We work with the leading manufacturers in the country and we can design a system based on each individual client’s requirements and budget. So please call us today on 01202 821340 to ensure you are ready for January 1 st 2020.

The following information is taken from current Government Legislation:

General binding rules: small sewage discharge to a surface water

Rules you must follow if your septic tank or small sewage discharge treatment plant releases (discharges) liquid to a surface water.

Use the correct treatment system

You must use a small sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage if you’re discharging to a surface water such as a river or stream. A small sewage treatment plant (also known as a package treatment plant) uses mechanical parts to treat the liquid so it’s clean enough to go into a river or stream.

Discharges from septic tanks directly to a surface water are not allowed under the general binding rules. If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to a surface water you will need to replace or upgrade your treatment system by 1 January 2020. Where properties with septic tanks that discharge directly to surface water are sold before 1 January 2020, responsibility for the replacement or upgrade of the existing treatment system should be addressed between the buyer and seller as a condition of sale.

If the Environment Agency finds evidence that your septic tank discharging to a surface water is causing pollution, you will need to replace or upgrade your system earlier than 1 January 2020. You will usually have to do this within 1 year, although this will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

You may be able to:

  • Connect to mains sewer – where available
  • Install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) so the septic tank can discharge to ground instead
  • Replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant