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Are you buying a house with a Septic Tank?

So, you have found your “dream” home, set deep in rural countryside. However, is it a dream or a (potential) nightmare?

As you may, or may not, be aware, the rules governing Septic Tanks and Sewage Packet Treatment Plants change on 1 January 2020.

From 1 January, 2020, all Septic Tanks and Sewage Packet Treatment Plants must be made to comply with the Environment Agency’s General Binding Rules within a reasonable time.  It is suggested that 12 months may be reasonable.  However, if a system is already causing pollution a much shorter time would be appropriate.

Sellers and Buyers need to deal with this issue early to avoid delays in transactions.

Septic tanks are designed to settle the waste matter and to subsequently discharge this into a correctly designed drainage field.  Discharge must not flow to a tunnel or soakaway or in the case of a septic tank directly to surface water.

A drainage field can best be described as an infiltration system made up of a series of rigid pipes with holes or slots, placed in trenches, over drainage stone and arranged in a closed loop design so that the effluent can trickle through the ground to be treated by bacteria in the underlying soil.

The septic tank itself is an underground settlement tank that allows the solids to sink to the bottom, forming sludge and the floating solids and dead bacteria float to the top thereby forming a crust leaving the resulting septic liquid to flow out to a drainage field.

The new or upgraded septic tank or sewage packet treatment plant must be of the correct size and installed by a professional. The system must, of course, be of a size suitable to the number of persons residing in the subject property and is not a hit and miss affair.

Of course, it is a sensible idea to regularly have the tank emptied – usually annually dependent upon its size and the number of people using it.  There are various “warning signs” that a septic tank is failing. To find these out please continue reading by visiting

Bevirs Law Swindon

Bevirs Law

Bevirs Law is a dynamic, approachable, local law firm with branches in Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett and Calne.

36 Regent Circus, Swindon, SN1 1UQ

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