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Septic tanks: new regulations

Published Thursday, December 18, 2014

This note explains the legislation relating to septic tanks in England.

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Septic tanks can pollute groundwater supplies and surface water in rivers, streams and lakes. Such pollution can make supplies unusable for drinking and cause damage to the environment, with economic and social consequences.

The regulation of septic tanks began in 2010. At that time, all septic tanks had to be registered. In 2011 the Government reviewed this approach and issued a consultation in 2014.

New regulations have been laid following the consultation and will come into force on 1 January 2015. Certain sites have been removed from the list of designated sensitive areas, so that small sewage discharges in those areas will no longer require an environmental permit. Discharges within groundwater source protection zone 1 will continue to require a permit. The requirement to register all septic tanks has been removed.

Commons Briefing papers SN06059

Authors: Oliver Bennett; Christopher Watson; Jim Camp

Topics: Agriculture and environment, Biodiversity, Countryside, Environmental protection, Waste management, Water, Wildlife

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