Whilst every home is unique, something that they all share in common is that the year can fly by quicker than ever before and certain maintenance obligations may be forgotten about. We’re nearing the end of 2019 and the sewage treatment plant upgrade deadline is fast approaching, as you have just three months to ensure that your property remains compliant. This could involve replacing your existing discharge septic tank with an upgraded small sewage treatment plant.
If you’re unsure what this is all about, the requirement was introduced in January 2015 under the Environment Agency’s General Binding Rules. We realise how easy it is to lose track of time or even miss this type of information, but it’s essential that your home’s sewage system is in line with the new regulations that come into effect in just a few short months.
If your home is in England and currently has a septic tank that discharges into a body of surface water, which can include a river, stream or even a ditch, it will need to be upgraded to a more environmentally-friendly system by 1st January 2020. There are no exceptions to this and failure to act in accordance will result in a fine from the Environment Agency. If there is also evidence that your septic tank has caused serious pollution, this fine could be considerably large.
This consistency of home sewage systems across all properties in England has been put in place to protect the environment from avoidable pollution, particularly in terms of water quality in the country’s waterways and groundwater. With the UK rolling out multiple measures to prevent further damage to our nation’s ecosystems, these new regulations are non-negotiable.
These efficient systems are quite similar to septic tanks, except that they contain mechanical parts that aerate the bacteria inside. This clever process enables small sewage treatment plants to be much more effective when it comes to the treating of waste water, allowing it to be discharged into a drainage field or even directly into flowing water.
Old septic tanks often drain into rivers, canals and other watercourses without having first neutralised the harmful substances, leading to high levels of local and national pollution. By nipping this contamination in the bud through its General Binding Rules, the Environment Agency is playing a leading role in ensuring a cleaner country for future generations to enjoy.
Unfortunately, if you’re planning on selling your property, you need to ensure that its sewage system is up to date before the sale is finalised. Failure to do so could also lead to a penalty being issued by the Environment Agency and delayed transition into your new home.
By booking a free survey, you get the peace of mind that a skilled professional will assess your existing system and determine whether or not it needs to be upgraded. If the system is compliant you’re good to go and there’s no call-out charge. If work is required, our engineer will provide you with a jargon-free explanation of what needs to happen next. In this instance, there will be two options:
Option 1: The system is upgraded before 1st January 2020 so that it meets the new standards.
Option 2: The discharge is diverted to a purpose-built drainfield so that it no longer enters a watercourse. This needs to be designed and constructed to meet British Standard BS6297 2007, plus a permit might be required from the Environment Agency as it could still cause damage to groundwater.
Don’t worry, our specialist can discuss all of this in greater detail if desired.
If your current septic tank setup uses a soakaway, it will still require an upgrade. This is because soakaways designed for rainwater are not compliant with the new regulations, which also applies to boreholes due to them discharging pollution into the ground.
Again, there will be two options available – either upgrade to a small sewage treatment plant, or choose to have the soakaway upgraded to a purpose-built drainage field. However, due to permission possibly being required from the Environment Agency and the deadline being so close, the first option is recommended.
TWC Drain Care offers free site surveys to customers throughout the North East, the whole of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. Whilst at your premises our specialists will assess the system to ensure that it meets the new requirements and provide a free quote if an upgrade is required. Get in touch today to book your free survey.