Does your private drainage system comply with current regulations?

Published: 05/04/2023 By Rachel Syder

Since the changes in law surrounding private drainage systems came into force at the beginning of 2020, we have seen many transactions hampered and delayed as old-style septic tanks are no longer compliant and this is identified either during surveys or conveyancing enquiries. The Environment Agency is the Government body responsible for regulating the ‘General binding rules: small sewage discharge to a surface water’.

How do I know if my private drainage system is compliant?
If your septic tank discharges directly into a watercourse or to any type of soakaway system other than a drainage field, it does not comply. If you are buying or selling a property with a septic tank that discharges directly to a watercourse, you should agree with the other party who will be responsible for the replacement or upgrade of the existing treatment system. This should be agreed as a condition of sale. If you sell your property, you must tell the new owner in writing that a sewage discharge is in place.

If you have a private drainage system and are not sure whether it is compliant, we strongly recommend an inspection prior to any sale being agreed in order to avoid difficulties and delays that may arise during the conveyancing process.