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Environment Agency Legislation for New & Existing Sewage Treatment Systems & Septic Tanks
Use the correct treatment system
You must use a small sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage if you’re discharging to a surface water such as a river or stream. A small sewage treatment plant (also known as a package treatment plant) uses mechanical parts to treat the liquid so it’s clean enough to go into a river or stream.
Note: Discharges from septic tanks directly to a surface water are not allowed under the general binding rules.
If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to a surface water you will need to replace or upgrade your treatment system by 1 January 2020. Where properties with septic tanks that discharge directly to surface water are sold before 1 January 2020, responsibility for the replacement or upgrade of the existing treatment system should be addressed between the buyer and seller as a condition of sale.
If the Environment Agency finds evidence that your septic tank discharging to a surface water is causing pollution, you will need to replace or upgrade your system earlier than 1 January 2020.