Septic tank regulations can cause a lot of confusion with many homeowners unsure of the latest sewage treatment legislation. One of the main points of confusion is septic tank discharge and whether a septic tank can discharge into a ditch or open watercourse. With regulation recently changing around this, we thought we’d run through the latest rules around septic tank discharge and how you can make sure you can comply.
Can my septic tank discharge into a ditch?
In short, no. The General Binding Rules state that septic tanks must not drain into an open watercourse or ditch. This is because septic tank discharge is considered unsafe and can damage watercourses, the environment and endanger wildlife. Instead, a soakaway or drainage field should be used to safely purify water and allow it drain away. This legislation was recently updated in 2020, meaning that septic tanks which drain into ditches or watercourses are no longer compliant.
How do I know if my septic tank discharges into a ditch?
As septic tanks are underground, it can be difficult to tell where effluent drains to. To determine for sure, you can either check your installation paperwork or have a septic tank investigation. A septic tank survey carried out by a member of our team can check the compliance of your system as well as the general health of your septic tank.
What do I do if my septic tank releases effluent into a ditch?
If your septic tank discharges into an open watercourse or ditch then it no longer complies with the General Binding Rules. You have two options:
- A septic tank conversion or retrofit septic tank: essentially this upgrades your septic tank with a soakaway or drainage field to ensure compliance
- Septic tank replacement: replace your septic tank with a compliant sewage treatment plant.
Out of the two above options it is hard to say which is the better or more cost-effective option for you as this can depend on your property and drainage requirements.
If you are unsure whether your septic tank discharges into a ditch, or are looking to make sure you comply with the General Binding Rules contact our team. We can conduct no obligation site surveys and advise on the best possible action for you to take. We can also install a septic tank conversion or replace your septic tank if required.