Septic Tank Systems, Regulations and Problems

New Septic Tank Regulations

Septic Tank News: The UK Environment Agency requires all existing septic tanks that discharge, either intentionally, or by accident into a ditch or watercourse, to be replaced by a sewage treatment plant as soon as possible. It is also required if you sell your property.

Failure to comply will result in Prosecution.

What is the Answer?

The cheapest solution is to replace the Septic Tank with a Sewage Treatment Plant. It is much cheaper and less disruptive than installing a new Soakaway Drainfield and over 70% of sites cannot have one anyway, due to failing the Mandatory Soakaway Drainfield Tests.

In the past, if you had an old existing Consent to Discharge, it was automatically transferred to a valid Permit , but this is no longer the case. Ireland is also enforcing the new rules..

Sewage treatment plants do not need an expensive soakaway drainfield, as they can legally discharge directly to a ditch, stream or surface water drain.

Septic Tank Products

All septic system installations must conform with the Environment Agency General Binding Rules.

It is estimated that over 70% of sites will fail the Exemption tests and will not be allowed to have a septic tank, so be warned.

They are also not allowed in Groundwater Source Protection Zones or in Flood Plains. Other wastewater treatment systems must be used.

Septic Tanks

We no longer make septic tanks, as they are not allowed in the vast majority of areas in the UK, due to high water tables, clay soils and Groundwater Source Protection Zones, set up by the Environment Agency. These are to protect public drinking water, abstracted from boreholes, from becoming polluted with viruses and bacteria from sewage effluent.
Telephone us to check in your area.

For a traditional 2 chamber septic tank, contact Crystal Tanks.

 Crystal Traditional twin chamber low profile

Septic Tank Conversion Units

These add-on tanks convert septic systems into full sewage treatment units, which can then discharge to a watercourse and make your septic tank discharge legal.

WTE manufacture or supply 3 different types, all of which have full BS EN12566-6 certification:

Vortex sewage treatment plant and septic tank conversion unit

FilterPod non-electric sewage treatment plant and septic tank conversion

FilterPod septic tank conversion unit

Drain-X Septic Tank Filters for Protection of the Soakaway Drainfield

These are placed in the vertical part of the 'T' pipe inside the tank at the outlet end. They prevent small solids, hair, lint, etc. from exiting the tank and blocking or clogging the soakaway drainfield.
It is estimated that they reduce suspended solids in the final effluent by around 60%.
Septic tank Bristle Filter to prevent the soakaway from clogging.
WTE Ltd. sells them in boxes of 12, but single Drain-X Septic Tank filters are available from;
Simply follow the above link and order online.

 Septic Tank Information

Sewage treatment options - All the options for   treatment and disposal of sewage.

Septic tank design - How they work.

Septic tank problems - Typical problems with the tank systems and soakaways.

Septic Tank inspections and Surveys.

Soakaway Drainfields - How to design and install a soakaway drainfield.

SODIUM - Its role in soakaway failure.

Septic tank care and maintenance - How to look after your tank.

Sewage smells inside or outside the house - Smelly drains and what to do about them.Sewage treatment plant disaster

Reports and Septic Tank Surveys. Some 'Disaster' photos here.

DIY Septic Tank Surveys - How to do a tank survey yourself

Septic tank emptying - How to find out if your tank needs emptying.Dangerous sewage sludge from a septic tank being spread on land

Can a farmer empty my system?

Septic Tank Dangers. - learn the dangers.

Why soakaway crates and tunnels are not allowed for sewage soakaways

Above ground mound soakaway systems for clay and high water table sites

Home-made cleaning products

Permits and exemptions

These have been superceeded by the General Binding Rules for small wastewater discharges and are only required for certain sites or larger populations.

Wales still requires registration. See Natural Resources Wales Registration Form Download

Advice and Information

On this website you will find details and advice on any sewage system or drainage problem you may have.

Whatever your tank and drainage needs, we strive to give a first class service. We supply both domestic and commercial customers with first class professional drainage services throughout the UK.

Specialist pages have been created, explaining your off-mains sewage treatment options, explaining the design and operation of the septic tank and soakaway drainfield, plus what to do if you have drainage or sewage problems. A septic tank is rarely the best solution for a sewage system as sewage treatment plants are ALWAYS a better and cheaper option.

The Environment Agency has told us that soakaway crates are NOT acceptable for any wastewater soakaway, as they do not conform to the Building Regulations or the BS 6297 2008.
Crates are only allowed for rainwater soakaways. Report the Cowboy Traders to Trading Standards.
WTE is a family firm with over 30 years experience of designing, installing, repairing and replacing wastewater systems.
Crystal septic tank, low profile, 2 chamber image

Solutions for failing soakaway drainfields

WTE can arrange septic tank, soakaway and drainage inspections, surveys and reporseptic tank soakaway failure - backed-up drainsts. 

The picture on the right is typical of a 'backed-up' tank system, with the sewage almost to the top of the tank.

We cover all the UK and will explore all your sewage treatment options with you to find the most suitable system for your site.

See our customer testimonials.

Surveys and Reports for homebuyers and problem sites

Because many private septic tank sewage systems throughout the world are not working properly, either through lack of maintenance, age or drainage problems, various laws exist to help prevent the serious environmental and human health problems they can cause.

Regulations have been set for minimum treatment standards, construction and replacement of brick, concrete and plastic septic tanks and drainfield systems. These are covered in the Building Regulations H2 and BS 6297 2007. Most solicitors require the vendor to show the status and location of the treatment system when a house is sold and many systems, particularly septic tank systems and cesspits, do not pass the survey. Septic tank systems that fail the survey have, usually, to be replaced with sewage treatment plants, but we have had a couple of sites where even this is not possible.

If you are buying a house with a septic tank, ALWAYS have an independent specialist septic tank and drainage survey done on your septic tank system before purchase. It can save you a lot of grief and money later.