Environment agency septic tank regulations 2020

December 02, 2020

New Septic Tank Regulations for 2020

For anyone who has a property off the mains drainage network, you must ensure you are up to date with septic tank regulations 2020.

The Environment Agency issued new rules in January 2020 in order to make sure property owners were taking adequate action against possible water pollution.

This may include updating or replacing your septic tank system, depending on your circumstances.

How do I know if I’m up to date?

Property owners who have a septic tank that discharges into surface water – such as a stream, river, drain, etc… – will need to have had their tank replaced back in January 2020.

If you haven’t replaced your system, you could be in breach of current rules. Although replacing your current system might cost a few thousand, that is preferable to the possible £100,000 fine you could receive if your septic tank system is out of date.

Why do I need a new septic tank system?

Before the new rules came into force, you were allowed to discharge the separated wastewater from your septic tank in one of two ways;

  • Into a drainage field or soakaway system which dispersed the water
  • Into a watercourse such as a stream or a river

With the new rules coming in this year, anyone who has a septic tank that discharges to a watercourse must either;

  • Connect it to a mains sewer instead
  • install a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) so that the tank discharges to the ground instead
  • replace your septic tank system with a small sewage treatment plant

You should also be aware that any updates or changes you make to your septic tank system must adhere to the following;

  • BS EN 12566 for small sewage treatment plants
  • BS 6297:2007 for drainage fields

Aside from the new rules in place, you should also look to replace your septic tank system if you see any issues or problems, such as;

  • Leaks
  • Blockages in the pipes
  • Cracks in any pipes or tanks
  • Pools of water forming near joins
  • Smell of sewage

Any or all of these can indicate that your system needs replacing.

Buying or selling a home with a septic tank

If you haven’t replaced your septic tank system yet and are looking to sell your property, you may find you are not able to complete until the work is done.

It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that the system is up to date, so many agents will not even list your property until it is sorted.

If you are looking to buy a property with a septic tank, you will need to ensure it has a UKDP survey carried out to protect you during the purchase.

I’m not sure if my septic tank system needs changing?

It can be quite confusing to navigate all these rules and parameters, so don’t worry. Contact Croft Drainage Solutions and speak to a member of our team to get helpful advice about your system.

We can also advise if you need to replace or update your septic tank system.