Septic Tanks

**Please note - if you have a drainage drawing or drainage schedule (SuDS), forward your PDF(s) to [email protected] and we will help construct your list of requirements.
Septic tanks are a vital component in wastewater management, integral to countless properties across the UK. These systems efficiently separate septic liquid from sewerage solids and discharge the resulting effluent via a designated drainage field. However, recent regulatory changes have brought significant implications for property owners reliant on septic tanks.

Under the latest General Binding Rules enacted by the Government, direct discharges from septic tanks into surface water drains are now strictly prohibited. It's imperative for property owners to understand and adhere to these regulations to avoid penalties and ensure environmental responsibility.

One key aspect to note is the prohibition of using soakaway crates and pits to receive effluent from septic tanks or sewage treatment plants, as stipulated in the updated Environment Agency General Binding Rules, effective from January 1, 2015. This shift underscores the importance of compliance and underscores the need for alternative solutions.

For property owners not connected to mains drainage, compliance with these regulations is paramount. Whether you're considering selling or purchasing a property without mains drainage, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the regulations and requirements implemented by Government.

As of January 1, 2020, property owners must take proactive measures to align with the new regulations. This may involve replacing existing septic tanks with packaged sewage treatment plants or redirecting discharge to appropriately designed drainage fields, where feasible.

For further guidance and information on complying to the General Binding Rules for small sewage discharge to surface water, we encourage you to visit the official Government website.

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  • How often do most septic tanks need to be emptied?
    Most septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of people using it. However, factors such as household size, water usage, and the type of waste being flushed can also affect how often the tank needs to be emptied. It's important to have your septic tank inspected regularly to determine when it needs to be pumped.
  • Do you need planning permission for a septic tank?
    In most cases, you do not need planning permission for a septic tank. However, there are some exceptions, such as if your property is in a conservation area or if your septic tank will be located near a water source. It's always best to check with your local planning authority to be sure.
  • How far should a septic tank be from a house?
    The distance between a septic tank and a house can vary depending on local regulations and the size of the tank. However, a general rule of thumb is that the tank should be at least 20 feet away from the house. It's important to consult with a professional to ensure that your septic system is installed properly and meets all local codes and regulations.
  • What is the standard price of a septic tank?
    Septic tank prices vary depending on the size and type of tank needed, as well as the location and complexity of the installation. On average, a basic septic tank system can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000. However, more complex systems or those requiring additional components such as pumps or filters can cost upwards of $10,000 or more. It is best to consult with a professional septic tank installer for an accurate estimate.
  • How much electricity does a septic tank pump use?
    A septic tank pump typically uses around 7-15 amps of electricity, and most homes use 15-30 amp breakers. This is equivalent to 1,500 watts to 3,000 watts depending on the size of the unit.