Does your septic tank need upgrading or replacing?

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By Gemma Parsons

If you have a septic tank that discharges directly to a surface water (such as a ditch, stream, river etc.), your system will need to be upgraded or replaced by 31 December 2019. Currently, this has become quite a sticking point in conveyancing transactions. The upgrade of a tank can be very expensive, and discussions over who is responsible for the cost of the replacement can often get contentious, particularly if the tank is shared among properties.

Under the new Environment Agency General Binding Rules, where properties with septic tanks that discharge directly to surface water are sold before 1 January 2020, responsibility for the replacement or upgrade of the existing treatment system should be addressed between the buyer and seller as a condition of the sale. The seller must disclose the existence of the system and must confirm in writing to any buyer that a sewer discharge is in place. A full list of the details to be provided are listed on the government website.

If you are in the process of selling your home, we would recommend obtaining a copy of the General Bindings Rules to find out whether or not your tank is compliant. Be aware that if it is not, an upgrade or replacement could be necessary and there are likely to be expenses involved. Further details can be found on the website.