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2020 septic tank regulations in England and Wales


Homeowners, what are your responsibilities?


Under the new code of practice implemented by the Environment Agency (General binding rules: small sewage discharge to a surface water), homeowners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the sewage treatment system on their property and to limit its impact on the local environment.


What is the situation?


Since January 2015, new rules relating to sewage treatment discharge came into effect in England and Wales. All direct discharge from a septic tank into a watercourse, such a river, a lake or a stream, will no longer be permitted. An upgrade or a replacement of the existing septic tank will be required.

Meaning now, in order to comply with the new 2020 septic tank regulations in England and Wales, homeowners will have to use a small sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage.  These package treatment plants treat wastewater so it’s clean enough to be discharged to surface water.


Who is affected by the 2020 septic tank regulations?


Any homeowner, in England or Wales, who currently has a septic tank directly discharging into a watercourse or causing pollution. Moreover, if you buy a property with a non-conforming septic tank before 1 January 2020, you will have to upgrade it – the responsibility for the replacement tank will have to be settled between the property buyer and seller. For further information, you can download our dedicated e-book.


What are the deadlines?


The upgrade to your sewage treatment system must be in place by January 1, 2020, or when you sell the property (if selling before this date).

Besides, if the Environmental Agency finds out before 2020 that you are currently polluting surface water as a result of discharge from a septic tank, you will be required to install a new system before the new regulations are actually enforced. In such situations, you will be given one year to upgrade, although this will be decided on a case by case basis.


What are the options?

Reasons to choose a Tricel Novo

If your septic tank is discharging directly into a watercourse, three solutions are available:

  1. Connect to the main sewer. However, this is unavailable in a lot of remote areas. If there is an obstacle in the way to the public sewer, you may not be able to connect to it either.
  2. Install a drainage field. This option is also known as an infiltration system and allows the septic tank to discharge to the ground instead of the watercourse. Please note that, in many cases, the installation of a drainage system is not possible due to site constraints such as small space and/or the soil not having sufficient drainage potential such as clay soil.
  3. Upgrade your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant, thus eliminating the need for any drainage field.


For the latter option, the Tricel Novo sewage treatment plant is a suitable cost-effective solution for a septic tank upgrade. It is simple, reliable, easy to install and complies with the environmental legislation.

In fact, all Tricel wastewater treatment plants have been tested to European certification EN 12566–3 and comply with the requirements of S.R. 66:2015. This certification tests all plants for strength, water tightness, durability and treatment efficiency.

By using a wastewater treatment plant which is CE certified, homeowners can rest assured that they are compliant with the standards currently in force, which guarantees a high level of security and efficiency.


Tips to a hassle-free septic tank or sewage treatment plant

  • Get expert advice to assess your situation, ensure the regulation is met and that the effluent is correctly treated, thus eliminating both health hazards and pollution to the local environment.
  • Like with any appliances, your septic tank or sewage treatment plant should comply with the industry standards (EN12566).
  • Regular maintenance service should be scheduled to ensure the plant is working efficiently and the risk of emergency breakdown is reduced.
  • Installation, maintenance and de-sludging should be carried out by qualified personals.

Why Tricel?

With Tricel you are guaranteed peace of mind through high quality and certified products. Our range of sewage treatment plants is designed and tested to meet CE regulations and industry standards.

Tricel is one of the largest manufacturers of sewage treatment plants in Europe and is regarded by regulators as the standard setters within the industry. Our company offers innovative and leading solutions that our customers can trust.

With Tricel you are guaranteed the following:

  • Free consultation/advice
  • High quality and certified products
  • A network of recognized and highly professional installers
  • Free commissioning
  • Maintenance and service contracts available on demand

What to do next?


To find out if you are affected by the 2020 septic tank regulations, contact one of our experts today. Book your free site visit or discuss the best course of actions for your project. You can also request a quote now for a replacement sewage treatment plant.

For more in-depth information about the 2020 septic tank regulations read this article as well.



Regulating agencies

For England and Wales, visit the Environment Agency’s website to read the General binding rules: small sewage discharge to surface water.

Different rules apply for Northern Ireland and Scotland, check with the following authorities for further details: the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or  Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs if your property is located in Northern Ireland.

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