Septic Tank Regulation Changes 1 month On: Why Was Change Needed?

If you’re the owner of a septic tank, you should be well aware that as of 1st January 2020, it became illegal to discharge your waste directly into a watercourse. For some time, it had been the rule that new septic tank installations necessitated the inclusion of a drainage field but existing ones were ok…until the end of last year.

Now, your waste disposal would must be one of the following:

If you have yet to comply with the septic tank regulation changes, you are actually breaking the law so get in touch with us urgently to rectify this!

What are the new regulations?

In the past, waste water was deemed safe enough to enter a local water course once it had passed through a septic tank and the main bulk of the solids separated out. However, it has since been identified as one of the causes of water pollution. As such, the waste water emitted by households or businesses without access to mains sewerage must now be treated more robustly in order for them to be seen as safe.

The regulation change necessitated an extra level of treatment for the waste either. This is to be done via a third chamber and drainage filed of a sewage treatment plant, or a soakaway system (or drainage field) added to the septic tank. The third chamber of a sewage treatment plant (or biozone) contains active bacteria which will help neutralise the threat of dangerous microbes before it passes into the drainage field. The drainage fields are a network of perforated pipes embedded underground. The soil into which they pass the waste water must be of adequate quality to filter out damaging elements as it percolates through. This then limits the impact the waste has on the surrounding environment.

Why were septic tank regulation changes needed?

Water courses feed into rivers and until late last year, fewer than 14% of rivers were close to their natural, healthy state and only 67% were good enough to swim in. The Environment Agency is trying to change this in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) which states that 75% of rivers must have ‘good’ water quality by 2027.

The waste water can also end up in drinking water plants, making it harder to process it. On a global scale, less than 1% of the world’s freshwater is accessible to us yet we expect to see an increase in demand of a third by 2050. So it’s important we can access it!

In order to make this change, significant improvements have to be made to Wastewater Treatment Plants and to other forms of waste water treatment, namely septic tanks. The Environment Agency are tackling this on a national level and at Proseptic, we are helping by doing our bit!

What you need to do

It’s our duty to help ensure water pollution is reduced, not increased so make sure you comply with the new regulations and keep your waste disposal system in good working order. You need to ensure your sewage treatment system meets the British Standard that was in pace at the time of the install. Current ones are:

  • Small sewage treatment plants: BS EN 125 66
  • Drainage fields: BS 6297:2007

You also need to ensure your system is properly maintained and regularly emptied. Keep a record of all of this and it’ll make selling your property easier in the long run too!

For more guidance on the regulations, look at the General Binding Rules or give the experts at Proseptic a call and we will be happy to help.

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