Sewage Treatment Plant Regulations

The following legislation applies to sewage treatment plants, septic tanks and foul water soakaways:

  • Building Regulations
  • British Standards
  • Environment Agency Permits
  • Environmental Permitting Programme Phase 2 (EPP2)

Building Regulations

Part H-H2  Package Sewage Treatment Works

The main implications are that a sewage treatment plant or septic tank must be placed at least 7m from a habitable part of a property and the soakaway must be at least 10m away from a watercourse, 15m away from any building and 50m away from a borehole, well or spring.

If the discharge is to a soakaway, then a sampling chamber must be provided after the septic tank or sewage treatment plant. Soakaway drains must be constructed in the aerobic soil layer, i.e. within 700mm of ground level.

Visit the Planning Portal website for more information

British Standards

BS 6297 2007 + Ammendment 1 2008

This standard re-enforces the Building Regulations H2 regarding foul water soakaways and basically, says the same thing.

Environment Agency (EA) Permits

Under the EPP2 legislation, all septic tanks and sewage treatment plants in England and Wales must be registered and obtain either an Exemption or a Permit.

However, the EA in England currently has a review of the final date for registration and whilst this is on, they do not require anyone to register who is discharging less than 2M³/day to soakaway (11 persons) or 5M³/day (27 persons) to a watercourse. This is ONLY if the site is not in a Groundwater Source Protection Zone or Site of Special Scientific Interest.

All other discharges must still be registered as must all discharges in Wales, no matter how small the amount.

Environmental Permitting Programme Phase 2 (EPP2)

If you are not on a mains sewage system then the EPP2 legislation requires you to register your waste water system with them so that they know who is discharging sewage effluent into the ground or into watercourses. The EA in England currently has suspended this requirement for small discharges untill a last date for registration has been decided. Please see above.