If your home uses a septic tank or similar drainage system (small sewage treatment plant (SSTP)) you may need to register with the Environment Agency. The situation is a little confusing but here goes! Regulations have been brought into force requiring the registration of such facilities with the Environment Agency. However, the registration system is currently under review and whilst this is happening the Agency will not require registration provided your system complies with requirements set out in it’s regulatory position statement 116 which can be viewed online through the Environment Agency website on www.environment-agency.gov.uk. This allows exemption from registration for certain small sewage discharges for the time being. These exemptions will cover most domestic situations.
New SSTPs, even those which meet the requirements of the position statement, must still go through a permit application process although they then may be entitled to an exemption.
If you have a system which is not currently registered, you can register voluntarily. We think this is a good idea because, should you decide to sell your property with an unregistered SSTP and/or not be able to supply the correct documentation, you could find that buyer’s lender will not release mortgage funds to complete the purchase. A solicitor acting on the purchase of a property with an SSTP should require evidence of registration, any conditions imposed on it and details of maintenance taking place after the date of registration, even before compulsory registration comes into force. If you wait until you sell your house before attending to registration and assuming the process is straight forward, it can take 15 working days. This could substantially delay your sale or purchase if the need to register is only discovered at a late stage in the transaction. Therefore voluntary registration now seems to be a good idea.
You can attend to registration online through the website mentioned above where a detailed explanation of the regulations and exemptions is also available.