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Treatment Plant Maintenance

Once you have your Treatment Plant installed it will have a guarantee from the manufacturer. This will only be honoured if you do have the treatment plant servicing done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

There are, however, some legal requirements that you should be aware of: it is not just having the tank emptied every year, or as required.

  • You must have Consent to Discharge or Exemption from the Environmental Agency. This requires you to keep a record log of the treatment plant maintenance available for inspection. These records have to be readily available and kept for 5 years.
  • The Building Regulations of 2002 states ‘that regular treatment plant maintenance and inspection should be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the owner will be legally responsible to ensure that the system is serviced and does not cause pollution or be a health hazard’.
  • Legislation in 2010 said the there would be a maximum fine of £100,000.00 or three months imprisonment if pollution was created by lack of treatment plant maintenance  / servicing .

Now the solicitors are requiring any property with a septic tank or treatment plant to produce documentation of the treatment plant maintenance / servicing when they prepare the conveyance documents for any sale or purchase of property.

Treatment Plant

It does make sense to have the plant serviced to ensure all is working properly and the discharge is safe. It is a good idea to have this done at the same time as you have your tank emptied as it gives a fuller inspection of the tank. Please remember that the contractor does need access to the unit, so keep it clear of any obstructions such as flower beds, as they certainly will be damaged.

Servicing is charged from £110.00 plus v.a.t.  We can arrange for a tanker to be in attendance should it be require

Never let an unqualified person tamper with your treatment plant. Any work should be done by a British Water Accredited Engineer.



Recently we had a call from a person who moved into a newish house out in the country. It was not connected to mains drainage and had a treatment plant installed when built. During the building the site should have been examined by both the local area building inspector and the NHBC who take over the builders insurance after two years. Also the Environmental Authority who would issue a Certificate of Exemption for the right to discharge the outfall from the treatment plant.

This person’s concern was that the treatment plant was ‘sinking’ into the ground and was afraid that it would damage the surrounding pipe connections. Obviously this would be the case, it would seem that the plant had not been set on or surrounded by concrete and required. After some discussions it was also established that the outfall was being discharge into a concrete ring soakaway which has been illegal since 1983. It should have been directed to a land drain in the absence of a ditch or water course.

It would appear that we cannot rely on the knowledge of our inspectorate, which in many ways is understandable as there are so many new rules and regulation appearing daily. They can’t be expected to be aware of them in all areas of expertise that they have to cover.

This property will have to be referred to all the persons concerned and could take several months to resolve. In the mean time just think of the disruption and the cost, both mentally and physically, to the home buyer who thought that they had purchased a recently built property and therefore would have no problems.

A structural survey that most of us have done before purchasing a new home does not normally include a full CCTV inspection of the drain lines. The surveyor will just lift the covers and check visually for any signs of defects.

When purchasing a home do have a survey of the drain lines and ancillary services,  it could save you money and heart ache.