Private drainage – are you aware of this?

- Tue 04 Feb 2020

As from the 1st January new regulations came into force for properties with septic tanks. If you are unaware of these changes and are thinking of selling or are currently marketing your home that has a septic tank, you may need to act now. Leaving the issue or ignoring the problem is only passing it further down the sale process, when things can be at their most stressful and could increase the chances of a property sale falling through.

Previous legislation:

Previously you could “discharge” the separated waste water from within the septic tank through one of two ways: either into a drainage field/soakaway system or into a watercourse such as a stream or river.

For a number of years property owners have not been allowed to install a new system that discharges into a watercourse, however, providing your existing septic tank wasn’t identified by the Environment Agency as causing pollution, you were not obliged to change it.

New regulations:

You are no longer allowed to discharge from a septic tank into a watercourse of any other type of soakaway system other than a drainage field. The reason for this is that the “quality” of the waste water is no longer considered clean enough to flow straight into local watercourses or soakaway systems without causing pollution.

If your septic tank discharges into a watercourse, not a soakaway or drainage field then you must upgrade your system by either swapping your septic tank for a sewage treatment plant or if possible, install a drainage field or soakaway system.

We have already come across a number of homes where their existing system has not met the new standards and whilst we have been aware of the new changes and have been able to advise our clients accordingly, it still causes alarm for those not aware of the changes.

Any properties that we feel maybe affected we will ensure this is highlighted prior to being marketed, which usually takes place at the initial valuation appointment.

If you are considering selling and would like more information about the whole sale process then please call us on 01395224800.


Richard Greetham  - Director

Richard Greetham