Sewage discharge legislation is changing, with the deadline for changes to be made – 1 January 2020 – fast approaching. The General Binding Rules (GBR) for small sewage discharges (SSDs) have been put in place to protect England’s river and streams from pollution caused by septic tanks and other small-scale sewage treatment plants. If you have have a septic tank or private water treatments then read on to see how this legislation may affect you...
The regulations require all homes that are not connected to mains sewage to upgrade or replace their system. If you have this kind of property, you need to act quickly or face substantial costs ahead of a sale.
Under the new regulations, it is no longer permissible to discharge low quality effluent from septic tanks directly into ditches, streams or other watercourses. Septic tanks installed and working before 31 December 2014, that discharge directly into surface water will need to be upgraded or replaced. However, if it discharges into the ground, and the tank complies with the general binding rules, then no further action is needed.
What you need to do
To see what kind of license (if any) is needed in order to discharge into ground or surface water, you should firstly read the General Binding Rules .
To estimate the amount of discharge a domestic property has, use the Gov.uk calculator .
You must be able to comply with every condition that fits where a tank will be discharging to (ground or surface water) – or apply for a permit. There are forms on the Gov.uk website. Click here to submit an application for a permit, download, complete and return the relevant forms available on the Government’s website. Submitting these forms will trigger the process with pre-application advice.