Hampshire property blog - July 2011
don’t get septic tanked!
1 January 2012 will go down in history. Not just as the
first day of the Olympic year, but as 'Septic Tank Day'.
Whilst many will wake up feeling like the contents of a cess
pit, property lawyers will know that the New Year heralds the
coming into force of new laws requiring householders with a septic
tank or sewage treatment plant to register it with the Environment
Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales)
Regulations 2010, discharges to rivers and streams must be
Those discharging to the ground can be registered at any time
prior to 1 January 2012.
If you already have a permit for the discharge then you do not
need to register.
All you need is to continue to maintain the system properly.
If the Environment Agency (EA) does not accept the registration
for any reason then it will suggest that you apply for a permit.
There is a fee payable for this as the agency has to
undertake a risk assessment before it allows the discharge.
This need for a permit will normally apply if the discharge
is close to a nature conservation area.
The EA will check this when the registration application is
received – it is worth noting that the application for registration
does not attract a fee and so in most cases the process will not
cost the homeowner.
Cesspools, to give them their correct name, do not need to be
registered as they are sealed units with no discharge into water or
ground. Put simply, if your system is one that needs emptying
every few weeks, then it is probably a cesspool, and so no
registration is required.
If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to surface
water you will need to apply for a permit and the EA may require
you to upgrade to a treatment plant.
Unfortunately as with many changes to the law, people are often
unaware of their existence until they come to sell their home.
If they haven’t got an exemption or permit then this will delay
any sale and there could be additional compliance costs.
Whilst most householders will be exempt, the key point is that
they still need to register in order to gain that status.