The Latest Septic Tank and Sewage Treatment Rules

As of 1st January 2020, here at Asap Septic Tanks we are making sure to keep up-to-date with all the necessary rules and regulations. Today we’re going to pass on the latest rules for septic tanks and sewage treatment. We will outline the additional rules that  should be applied since the change has been implemented. One rule that we particularly want to stress is the need to replace or upgrade your septic tank to a full sewage treatment plant. This has been required since the turn of year, and if these rules are not followed, you will be liable to the Environment Agency’s enforcement sanctions for offences.

Who the Rules Apply To

Whenever you had a new treatment system installed, you may still need to take note of these new rules. The rules apply to all new installations, as well as those you would like to change to either a surface water or the other way around. They also apply to those wanting to install a new drain pipe that discharges more than 10 metres away from the current one, or if it goes into a different surface water area. Everything needs to be in-line with current building regulations, you can also reference the environment agency website for guidance.

Public Sewers

You are now not allowed to begin a new discharge from a treatment plant if any part of your building connected to it is 30 metres from a public sewer. For developments consisting of more than one property, the distance considered increases to three times the length. You can find this information about public sewers from your local environment agency.

Regulations and Approval

In order to install a new treatment plant, you will need the necessary building regulations and planning approval before you start work. You can find out more about the requirements for building regulations approval on the government website, where there is also information about planning permission.

Discharge Point Location

Treatment plants that require a new discharge to a surface water that is within the boundaries or nearby a designated sensitive area, you will require the relevant permit. These areas may include special areas of conservation as well as special protection areas which are known as SSI ( Special Scientific Interest ) Other areas could be Ramsar sites, which are wetlands of official international importance. There are also biological sites of special scientific interest and areas that are home to pearl mussels or protected shellfish. All discharge point should be over 500 metres away from these sites, as well as any designated bathing water. They should also be at least 200 metres away from any aquatic local nature reserve and 50 metres of a chalk river or aquatic local wildlife site. If in doubt, contact the Environment Agency.

Surface Water Flow

Discharges must now connect to a surface water that consists of flowing water assuming that there is continual running water, as opposed to a stagnant area like a ditch, enclosed lake or pond. Throughout the whole year, the water should flow (unless there happens to be a rare spell of particularly dry weather or a drought. To avoid confusion, it is worth noting that new discharges cannot connect to watercourses that regularly dry up in certain seasons.

Partial Drainage Field Requirements

Finally, regarding partial drainage fields or seasonal soakaways, new installations must be within 10 metres of the edge of the watercourse, and it can only be used with a small sewage treatment plant.

Contact Us

For more information about these rules or any other queries, please get in touch us by emailing us at You can also speak to a member of our team directly by calling us on 01623 232240. We would be happy to help you with any questions you may have for us.

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