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On 1 January 2020 new legislation regarding septic tanks comes into force.

Regulations introduced in 2015 were designed to prevent septic tanks discharging directly into, and polluting, local watercourses like streams and rivers. The rules applied to existing treatment systems (in use before 31 December 2014) and new ones (in use after 31 December 2014) with a requirement that septic tank owners upgrade by 1 January 2020.

Options available include replacing offending septic tanks with a sewage treatment plant which treat the waste before it is released into any watercourse. Such plants may need building regulation and planning permission approval, should meet the British Standard in force at the time of installation, be installed properly with enough capacity and be regularly emptied and maintained. Other alternatives include drainage fields, soak aways, or connecting the property to the mains sewer. Read the Governments guidance including the 2020 updates here or contact your local Environmental Agency or council for further advice, particularly if you are looking to sell or buy a property with a septic tank. Non-compliance fines are anything up to £100,000.