Septic tanks and treatment plants: permits and general binding rules

1. Overview

If your house or business isn’t connected to the mains sewer, your sewage will go to one of the following:

  • a septic tank - an underground tank where the solids sink to the bottom and the liquid flows out and soaks through the ground
  • a small sewage treatment plant (also known as a package treatment plant) - a part-mechanical system that treats the liquid so it’s clean enough to go into a river or stream
  • a cesspool (also called a cesspit) - a sealed tank that collects the sewage
  • a non-standard system, eg a reed bed or a trench arch system

You have a non-standard system

You must contact the Environment Agency to find out if you need a permit.