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January 2020: Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade Deadline

There is less than a year to go until the deadline for upgrading your ‘existing discharge’ septic tank, so if you’ve got an out-of-date septic tank on your property it’s time to act and get your system upgraded.

In January 2015 new rules were introduced to simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated in England. The objective of the new regulations is to help protect the environment and improve water quality. But what does this mean for a homeowner who has an old septic tank on their property? Let’s start with the basics:

What is a Small Sewage Treatment Plant?

Small sewage treatment plants work in a similar way to septic tanks but use mechanical parts to aerate the bacteria, which makes them more effective at treating waste water and means they can discharge treated sewage into a drainage field or directly into flowing water.

This last part is the key difference between the old systems and the systems approved under the latest regulation. Some existing septic tank systems will in fact be draining directly into ditches, rivers, canals, water drains or any other type of watercourse.

What are your options?

Septic tanks that do not meet the new regulation are referred to ‘existing discharge’ systems and where they drain directly into a water source, owners can choose one of two options:

Option 1: Upgrade the system in the next few months to a sewage treatment plant that meets the standards outlined in the new regulation.

Option 2: Stop the discharge to the water course and instead divert it to a purpose built drainfield that has been designed and constructed to meet British Standard BS6297 2007.

Does a septic tank soak away meet new regulations?

Septic tank systems using a soakaway still need upgrading. A soakaway which is designed for rainwater does not meet the new regulations and will need upgrading before January 2020. This also applies where other methods are being used such as well or boreholes that essentially discharge effluent to the ground.

As with other out of date systems these will need upgrading to a small sewage treatment plant or alternatively the soakaway will need upgrading to a purpose-built drainage field. Where the latter route is taken, a permit may be required from the Environment Agency who will assess the risk posed to groundwater.

How can TWC Drain Care help?

Our company specialises in drainage. Working with our trusted partners we can provide an end to end service from initial site assessment through to design, planning and installation, ensuring you meet the 2020 deadline in good time.

Our services cover both upgrades to existing systems and infrastructure, as well as completely new installations. Our drain care team are also on hand to support you in maintaining your sewage system by offering an emergency drain unblocking service.

We use the latest CCTV camera survey technology in combination with high power jet washing equipment to diagnose, clear and repair all types of drain drainage and blockages.

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