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General binding rules 2020: Are you compliant?

Rewatec septic tank for the partial treatment of wastewater

On 1st January 2020, under the new general binding rules provided by the Environment Agency (EA) and the legislative body of the Government, a septic tank will no longer be allowed to discharge directly to surface water (stream, ditch, river etc.) due to plausible threats on public health, as well as the deterioration of the ecological quality.

All septic tanks that currently discharge into surface waters will need to comply with at least one of the below options:

  • Be replaced (or be upgraded) by a wastewater treatment plant that is fully compliant with the BS EN 12566-3 (request for a CE certification)
  • If the regulatory bodies and the Environmental Agencies allow, the effluent should be diverted to a drainage field (soakaway), as per BS6297 2007
  • The septic tank or the property should be connected to the utilities sewage network

Homeowners, that are the end-users of their drainage systems, are expected to be liable for their choice, installation, maintenance and operation of their treatment system, so it maintains the expected efficiency (Binding Rules - England, DEFRA, January 2015), as specified by the manufacturers (efficiency proven by the certifications provided by independent bodies – CE mark, EN 12566-3).

In summary:

The installation of a new drainage field must be a minimum of 10m away from a watercourse, 50m from a water abstraction point, and 15m from any nearby building. No sensitive area is expected to be nearby, and if so, application for a permit from the Environmental Agency is a pre-requisite.

Connecting the property to a sewage network is a viable solution but examination of its’ financial attainability is essential, since civil works may be a massive investment.

If the best option is to upgrade your septic tank, or replace it with a sewage treatment plant, then Premier Tech Water and Environment have a range of solutions to meet your needs:

If your property resides in Scotland or Wales, it is essential that your septic tank or sewage treatment plant is registered with SEPA (Scotland) or Natural Resources (Wales) respectively prior to 2020. In Wales, NRW require you to hold a ‘discharge’ permit to discharge to ground for both cases of having either a drain field or watercourse.

Please reach out to us if you require further information and guidance.

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