Septic tank regulations. It’s not many people’s idea of a scintillating subject, but if your property has a septic tank, or you’re buying a property that has one, a change in the law means you’d be wise to read on, says Jeremy Cozens
Given the health risks and environmental issues that a malfunctioning septic tank can cause, it’s understandable why the government places strict regulations on their proper upkeep. The current regulations came out in 2015, and are called general binding rules. But that’s all set to change.
In a nutshell, if a septic tank is discharging into a watercourse, as opposed to an infiltration system, then it will need to be improved or replaced by 1 January 2020.
And if you are planning to sell before this date, you should have an audit of the system carried out and establish if it needs upgrading. If it does, it needs to be done before you sell, or in negotiation with the purchaser.
What can you do? This could involve creating a new infiltration system, installing an approved conversion kit, installing an approved aerobic treatment plant system or even connecting to a main sewer if one is available nearby.
The Environment Agency will advise on specific cases and we recommend that the local authority is consulted to confirm whether planning permission and building regulation approval will be required.
It is my experience that many people moving to the area are not prepared for living with a septic tank, so systems have not been properly designed or managed and have been adapted incorrectly.
It is recommended that systems have a full professional appraisal by a specialist before purchase because of the possibility of significant expenditure to rectify any problem or install a completely new system. The worst scenario being when the only option available is to install a sealed cesspool (with no outlet) emptied regularly by tanker. This would be a very costly option.
But never fear. The team at Symonds & Sampson are here to guide you through what the regulation changes mean for you, and what the best option is for you and your property. Jeremy contributed to an article on this subject in the August edition of Sherborne Times (P109).
Contact Jeremy on 01202 639401, or call into any of our offices and we’ll be happy to help.