The General Binding Rules for septic tanks in the UK are a set of regulations governing the discharge of wastewater from septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants (also known as package treatment plants) to the environment. These rules were introduced by the UK government to protect water sources and the environment from pollution caused by inadequate sewage treatment.
Here is a summary of the key points covered by the General Binding Rules:
- Discharge Limitations: Septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants must not discharge directly to surface water, such as rivers, streams, or ditches, unless they meet certain conditions (see below). The aim is to prevent pollution and protect water quality.
- Location Restrictions: Septic tanks must not be located where the discharge could pose a risk to groundwater, drinking water sources, or surface water. The site should be well-drained and not prone to flooding.
- Tank Standards: Septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants must be properly designed, installed, and maintained to ensure effective treatment of wastewater. They should comply with relevant British Standards or the European Standard for package treatment plants.
- Exemptions for Discharge to Surface Water: If the septic tank discharges to a watercourse (such as a river) and meets certain conditions, it may be exempt from the general rule. Conditions include using a drainage field (also known as an infiltration system) with adequate capacity, maintaining proper maintenance records, and not causing pollution.
- Existing Installations: If you have an existing septic tank or small sewage treatment plant that discharges to surface water, you must ensure compliance with the General Binding Rules by upgrading or changing the system if necessary. The deadline for compliance was January 1, 2020.
- Responsibility: The property owner is responsible for ensuring that their septic tank or small sewage treatment plant meets the General Binding Rules. This includes regular maintenance, monitoring, and any necessary repairs or upgrades.
It's important to note that this summary provides a general overview of the key points of the General Binding Rules for septic tanks in the UK. For more detailed information and specific requirements, it is recommended to refer to the official government guidance or consult with relevant authorities or professionals in the field.