Taylor Fordyce Articles

Do you have to register your Private Sewage System?

April 2013

The government abandoned its original deadline of 1 January 2012 for registration in England last year because it realised that the new rules had not been adequately publicised and nobody seemed to know about them. The Environment Agency was asked to carry out a review to adopt a better approach. The review has been completed and Department for Environment will announce the new plan this year.

If you remember, we reported that the new law, grandly called the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (S1 2010/675) (“EWR”), says you have to register your sewage system if your system is a ‘septic tank’, but you will not have to register yet if you are in England because the Government is reviewing the registration requirements and have (for England but not Wales) postponed the original deadline of 1 January 2012. You may still register voluntarily if you want to.

A septic tank is just one kind of sewage system that is not connected to the public sewer system. It deals with the disposal of sewage entering it by a kind of filtration process which discharges the filtered waste water into the ground leaving a sludge to be periodically emptied by a domestic waste collection agency. The obligation to register your septic tank is in regulation 74(6) of the EWR and the duty lies with the occupier of the property. The registration automatically passes with any sale of the property.