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Sewage: Waste Disposal

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 651, tabled on 15 October 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to compensate property owners with septic tanks for the expense of (a) upgrading and (b) replacing existing tanks to make their tanks compliant by 1 January 2020.

Answered on

22 October 2019

There is no financial help available for upgrading or replacing small sewage discharges, regulated under General Binding Rules (GBRs), including for septic tanks if required. However, where the Environment Agency identifies that improvements are required they will agree a reasonable timescale for the improvements to be made with the owner.

All operators of septic tanks are responsible for maintaining them and making sure they don’t cause pollution. Untreated sewage harms rivers and wildlife. Discharges from septic tanks have been regulated under UK law for many years and discharges from a septic tank to a watercourse without a permit have not been lawful.

Alongside the GBRs coming into effect in January 2015, a policy target date of 1 January 2020 was set to phase out the remaining discharges directly from septic tanks to watercourses.