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Septic Tank Ban 2020

Posted by Rob G on

New rules for septic tanks from 1st Jan 2020 From 1st January 2020 septic tanks are not allowed to discharge into the watercourse including ditches, streams, canals, rivers, surface water drains or any other type of watercourse.

Under the new Environmental Agency "General Binding Rules" if you have a septic tank that discharges directly into surface water (as above examples) you MUST upgrade or replace them to a treatment plant by 1st Jan 2020 or if you sell your property before this date.(UK)

All existing septic tanks that discharge into the watercourse will have to be replaced with a treatment plant that consents to BS EN 12566-3 certified. Or, discharge diverted to drainfield which consents to BS6297 2007. Also note that a drainage field is different from a soakaway which you can not use. Soakaways must be converted to drainage field or apply for a permit from the Environmental Agency to assess risks to groundwater.

You sell your property - tell the new owner about the sewage treatment system If you sell your property, you must tell the new operator (the owner or person responsible for the sewage treatment plant) in writing that a sewage discharge is in place.


  1. A description of the treatment plant and drainage system
  2. The location of the main parts of the treatment plant, drainage system and discharge point
  3. Details of any changes made to the treatment plant and drainage system
  4. Details of how the treatment plant should be maintained, and the maintenance manual if you have one
  5. Maintenance records if you have them
If your system doesn’t meet the general binding rules then you’ll need a permit – formerly called a consent to discharge – there will be a fee and a 13 week wait for your decision.

Rules for Scotland You must register your sewage discharge with SEPA Full rules can be downloaded here; https://www.sepa.org.uk/regulations/water/small-scale-sewage-discharges/

Rules for Wales You must register your septic tank or treatment plant with Natural Resources Wales https://naturalresources.wales/permits-and-permissions/water-discharges/register-your-septic-tank-package-sewage-treatment-plant/?lang=en


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