All home owners with a septic tank and or sewage treatment plant that does not have an Environment Agency permit, must now follow new environmental regulations which require them to register for a free Environment Agency discharge exemption for discharges of sewage effluent by 1 January 2012 warns Adams & Remers LLP.
Anyone who doesn’t qualify for a free discharge exemption, should have an environmental permit or they could be risking a substantial fine.
Suzanne Bowman, Associate at Adams & Remers comments: “This new legislation which came into force earlier this year has been little publicised and potentially awareness of the rules could save homeowners a considerable amount of money as fines are likely to be imposed if you fail to register for the exemption by the deadline. This could also slow down the sale and purchase of homes as either an exemption or permit should now be required by the conveyancing solicitor to prove the system complies with the rules.
It is an offence to make a sewage effluent discharge to surface waters without an environmental permit and many homeowners have had to spend several thousand pounds to upgrade or install a sewage treatment plant to comply with the permit conditions.
Suzanne Bowman continues: “The legislation is designed to streamline the existing regulations and make compliance easier to ultimately reduce the amount of pollution. Homeowners with private drainage cannot think they can escape the legislation and must apply for either the exemption or a permit. For many this may mean current systems have to be upgraded at some cost. If you are buying a property you should check it has the exemption or permit in place or it will be your responsibility to comply with the legislation or face substantial fines and risk having to find an alternative disposal of waste.”
Suzanne concludes: “I would advise anyone buying a property with private drainage, excluding cesspools which are unaffected by these changes, to pay particular attention to drainage provisions. Make sure you ask specific questions about the drainage and get an independent expert to check over septic tanks and sewage treatment plants to ensure they are working correctly.”