Environmental Agency Registration Guidelines – Sewage Treatment and Septic Tanks

Septic and sewage treatment plants are a big part of both domestic and agricultural waste these days. Commonly found in locations that have no connections to the main sewage pipe systems provided by the government or private businesses.

The requirement as to whether or not you have to register sewage treatment plants or septic tanks in the United Kingdom has changed.

Here are the guidelines from the environmental agency:

Whilst the government is planning a consultation on the regulation option, you don’t need to register providing your:

• discharge is to ground and is of 2 cubic metres per day or less via a septic tank and infiltration system (soakaway) and is outside a source protection zone 1. This is approximately equivalent to 9 people occupying a single property

• discharge is to surface water and is of 5 cubic metres per day or less via a package sewage treatment plant. This is approximately equivalent to 31 people occupying a single property

• sewage is only domestic (for the definition of domestic see the registration of small sewage discharges in England document in the downloads box)

• sewage system is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (if not, British Water codes of practice and technical guides) and you keep a record of all maintenance. In the case of septic tanks this includes regular emptying

• discharge does not cause pollution of surface water or groundwater

It is important to know whether or not your septic tanks or sewage treatment systems fall within these guidelines so you know if they need to be registered.