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New rules for existing septic tanks

New rules for existing septic tanks

Published: 28/10/2019

New regulations surrounding septic tanks require all homes which are not connected to a mains sewage network to review, upgrade or replace their non mains system by the 1st January 2020. If you are looking to sell your property, this change of legislation requires you to address such a necessity before you are legally permitted to sell your home.


The General Binding Rules for small sewage discharges (SSDs) have been put in place to protect England’s surface water resources (e.g. rivers, streams etc.) from pollution caused by septic tanks and other small-scale sewage treatment plants. Under the new regulations, it is no longer permissible to discharge low quality effluent from septic tanks directly into ditches, streams or other watercourses. Instead, homeowners have the option of replacing or upgrading systems to incorporate a drainage field. This is also known as an infiltration system and means the effluent can seep into the ground instead for further treatment by soil bacteria.

James Ward, Partner at Mount & Minster, confirms: "The new rules cannot be ignored. The responsibility lies with the homeowner to understand their private drainage system and therefore any changes they may need to make to comply. Lack of knowledge of such key factors can delay a successful house sale or possibly result in a complete break-down between buyer and seller. It has never been more imperative to have a competent agent to advise you from start to finish. Ignorance of changing legislation can make the difference to a successful sale of your home or not."


If you wish to discuss this requirement in more detail or are seeking advice on how to sell your home, please contact your local Mount & Minster office.