Septic Tanks

How Does The 2020 Septic Tank Regulations Affect You?

Discharges from septic tanks, directly to a surface water drains are not allowed under the General Binding Rules issued by the Government?

Septic tanks separate the septic liquid from the sewerage-solids and then discharge the liquid effluent via a drainage field. Soakaway crates and Soakaway pits should NOT be used to receive effluent from your septic tank - THIS IS NOT ALLOWED.

The new Environment Agency General Binding Rules (1 January 2015) forbids the discharge of untreated effluent into a surface water drain (including ditches, rivers, canals, streams or any other watercourse).


  • If you are living in a property which is not connected to mains drainage
  • If you are considering selling or buying a property which is not connected to mains drainage?

If you own or intend to sell a property before the 1st January 2020, you must replace the septic tank with a packaged sewage treatment plant.

Alternatively, where possible, you can divert the discharge from your septic tank to a correctly designed drainage field.

For more information :

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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.