If your property or a property you are looking to purchase is using a shared septic tank, it is important you know how to properly care for your septic tank and understand your responsibilities in order to keep your tank running smoothly. Here, our drainage experts have completed a comprehensive guide to shared septic tanks answering all your questions.
The Benefits of a Shared Septic Tank
Shared septic tanks are actually quite common in the UK, with many rural homes needing to make use of off-mains drainage solutions.
These tanks offer many benefits that a traditional septic tank or sewage treatment plant won’t offer. For example, it can often lower the running costs of the tank as although the tank may be bigger, the costs are split with your neighbour/neighbours. They might also be ideal if there is not enough space for each home to have their own septic tank, and therefore space is limited. Finally, sharing your septic tank with another home may make running the tank much more efficient. This is because you have many people looking after one tank and therefore issues are much more likely to be noticed and addressed, taking the responsibility off one single homeowner.
Who is Responsible for a Shared Septic Tank?
When you share a septic tank with your neighbour, the responsibility to care for and maintain the tank is shared equally, unless stated otherwise in your property deeds. It is for all parties involved to understand how to take care of a septic tank. For example, knowing what can and cannot go in your drainage system, emptying the tank and how to spot any issues.
It is a common misconception that if the tank is on one property’s land, the responsibility falls solely with this homeowner. No matter where the tank is situated, it is most common that all homeowners utilising the tank have equal responsibility. This also means that if the tank is on your property, you may need to grant access as and when required. Of course, this may not be the case for your shared tank and your property deeds may state otherwise.
Common Legalities of a Shared Septic Tank – Shared Septic Tank Agreements
The responsibility is often laid out in a formal document, known as a Shared Septic Tank Agreement. These agreements are legally binding and lay out, in detail, the responsibilities of each homeowner, for example the cost breakdowns.
Having a formal agreement in place is not a legal requirement, however it does help to reduce the number of disputes in the future. If everyone knows, understands and has signed to their role within the agreement, then running the tank is often much smoother. It is also a safety blanket for those involved, as if one party falls behind with payments for example, legal action could be taken if required. Clear and regular communication is key when on a shared septic tank!
Shared Septic Tank Tips For Proper Maintenance
Like any septic system, your shared septic tank will be running at its best if you take care of what you put into it. We have covered many times how to extend the life of your sewage treatment plant or septic tank. We also have a full Do’s and Don’ts list here.
To summarise however, it is best to be careful what you put in your drainage system. Typical wastewater is fine, however be cautious with hair, oils, thick kitchen paper and sanitary products as these can all block your septic tank and cause issues.
Pumping and inspecting your tank can also help extend your tank’s life. Services such as CCTV drain surveys can be employed if issues arise but can also be used routinely to highlight potential issues as soon as possible.
Need Help Or Advice With Your Shared Septic Tank
If you need help with installation, maintenance or professional advice regarding your shared tank, get in touch with our experts today.