Private Drainage

New legislation came into force in 2020, though it was initially introduced in 2015 which has created some confusion. This article will hopefully explain some of the factors that affect properties in the area we cover, notably Cornwall, West Devon and Torridge.

A septic tank installed after 1983 needs to comply with legislation known as the General Binding Rules which focuses on a septic tank’s construction and proximity to water courses, reservoirs or boreholes. If your septic tank discharges into surface water (stream, river, ditch, surface water drain etc) then it is likely that it will need to be replaced or upgraded. In addition, there is a need to ensure the capacity matches the likely number of inhabitants in the dwelling, usually done by adding 2 to the number of bedrooms in the property.

The cost of a new treatment plant can vary between contractors so it’s advisable to research who gives the best advice for your particular requirements. They can vary enormously with the price depending on the ground condition and accessibility to the site of the new septic tank. General rules are that septic tanks should be 7 metres from any habitable part of the building and no more than 30 metres from an access point for emptying by a suitable contractor.

As septic tanks provide very little treatment to the waste, it is no longer considered safe to allow this waste to enter into water courses, hence the justifiable furor when waste companies allow this to happen.

It is important to ensure that this legislation is addressed early on, ideally before any marketing campaign is commenced, so ensure your agent is fully aware of this and any other factors that may affect the successful sale of your property. With 30 years experience of dealing with country and village properties with private drainage, I would be happy to help. Contact us here.