Private drainage system? Get it registered!

Many rural properties are not connected to the public sewerage system, but have their own private foul drainage system: a septic tank, cesspit or biological treatment unit.

It used to be that only systems that drained or overflowed into a watercourse (which includes a ditch) needed a Consent to Discharge (or exemption certificate) from the Environment Agency, but the regulatory system is changing. Under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, brought into effect by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, it was planned that all private sewerage systems should be registered with the Environment Agency.

That plan has been delayed, as it is being reviewed by the government with the water and waste disposal companies. That review should be concluded by December 2012; meanwhile, the requirement to register has been suspended.

However, registration on a voluntary basis is still possible and – I suggest – adviseable, as there will be a rush to register once registration is compulsory: people will not be able to sell houses with unregistered private drainage systems, and the time taken to register (while it is voluntary) is already many weeks; once the number of applications increases with compulsory registration, the delays are likely to be even longer.

To register, go to the Environment Agency website and complete the form.

1 Comment

  1. Some really good advice. It’s really important to make sure that you meet regulations with you septic tank. Also, you need to make sure that you take care of your septic tank, just following a few easy tips you can help to keep your septic tank functional.

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