If you have a septic tank or a small sewage or package treatment plant, then these facilities have to be registered with Natural Resources Wales if your property is in Wales. This blog seeks to clarify what you need to do if you have a septic tank or a small sewage treatment at your property.
Types of Subsidence
Septic tanks that discharge directly to surface water are not allowed, and the regulations state that these either have to be improved by upgrading the treatment system through a small sewage treatment plant or installing a drainage field and discharging onto the ground.
Discharging sewage directly onto ground water is not permissible, it has to have a drainage field that’s located above the water table.
If you have an existing cess pit system, which only really applies to systems that have been in place for a number of years, perhaps even historic systems – (we find this to be the case a lot, particularly in Gwynedd). The NRW do consider these to be an environmental hazard and will only consider allowing them to remain where there is no viable alternative.
Registration is usually free and can be done via the Natural Resources Wales website – www.NaturalResources.Wales/Permits-and-permissions/Water-discharges-and-septic-tanks
You have to provide your name, address and postcode to the property, an estimate of how much you discharge (this is usually based on the number of people living at the property), confirmation whether you share the septic tank/treatment plant with another property, and if you’re aware of any boreholes or wells within 50 meters of the tank.
Registration is submitted online and usually takes up to 15 working days.
Refusal of registration
If the septic tank/sewage system –
- Services 13 or more properties;
- Is a packaged treatment plant that services 33 or more properties;
- Is near a protected or designated area for the environment or a ground water supply, for example a site of special scientific interest;
- If the sewage discharges 50 meters or less from a borehole or well;
If any of the above apply, then the free registration process is not available to you and you must apply for an environmental permit. The application is made under what is known Part B 6.5. and is submitted online via NRW’s website (you can find the link using the address above). The forms then need to be sent to Permit Receipt Centre at NaturalResourcesWales.gov.uk or they can be posted to Permit Receipt Centre, Natural Resources Wales, 29 Newport Road, Cambria House, Cardiff, CF24 0PT. There is likely to be a fee with this application.
What happens when the system has been registered?
When a system has been registered you will receive a certificate of registration, however it is your responsibility then to keep the system in good working order so to prevent pollution. You should keep all of your servicing records, including maintenance records, tank emptying receipts etc. for at least 6 years. If you suspect the system is causing pollution, you must cease its operation and must ensure the system is properly maintained in accordance with their manufacturer’s instructions.
Registration is particularly important when it comes to selling your home. Most people are unaware of the registration system, which is part of the reason for writing this blog so that those who have septic tanks can comply with the regulations. What we have been finding is that clients that come to sell their properties who are perhaps unaware of the regulations, later finding that they either need to apply to register the tank or alternatively, when they apply their system may not be compliant with the rules on occasion and they actually need an environmental permit.
If you have a private drainage system and considering selling your property in the future, then we would strongly advise you to apply to register your system now but to be aware that it may result in you having to upgrade that system in order to be complaint with the law.
If you have any further enquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org