DEFRA to deregulate small sewage plants

DEFRA has outlined plans to deregulate domestic wastewater systems. These include small sewage treatment plants and septic tanks that discharge up to two cubic metres to groundwater or five cubic metres to surface water per day.

Domestic wastewater system refer to individual properties or communities not connected to mains sewage. Schools, nursing homes, restaurants and holiday parks that use off-grid sewage treatment are also classed as ‘domestic’.

Owners will no longer be required to register with the Environment Agency or be required to inform the agency if the sewage system stops working.

The systems would still be subject to general binding rules that state that the systems must be properly installed and maintained, and should not pollute ground or surface water.

Up to 400000 sites may be affected by these changes. The responsibility for the discharge remains with the site owner or tenant.

Regular sampling and monitoring of your tank the can help to ensure that the final discharge from your system is not polluting the ground or surface water, and that the consent to discharge has not been breached.

These changes will come into force in January 2015.