Environmental Permits - what are they?
These are legal documents permitting the discharge, or licence an activity which has the potential to pollute the environment. They come in 3 forms. Exemptions for minor discharges such as septic tanks, Standard Permits, which are for the basic waste and water discharges in low environmental risk areas and Bespoke Permits, which are considered to be higher risk activities.
I have a septic tank and soakaway and I live in Cornwall what do I need to do?
Currently there is a review which will be completed by the end of 2012 between DEFRA and the Government to assess whether small domestic discharges will need to be registered with the Environment Agency. At the moment there is no requirement to register your septic tank with them if you live in England. If you live in Wales then every septic tank will need to be registered with the Environment Agency.
I am about to sell my house and I have heard that my septic tank will need to be registered?
Most solicitors are getting pretty hot on this and, in order to prevent any problems in the sale chain, we recommend that you apply for an Exemption Permit before marketing the property for sale.
Exemption Permit Criteria
For most people this is free and a one-off registration, subject to certain criteria:
- If your septic tank discharges into a soakaway in the ground and the property or properties has less than nine people living there.
- If your package sewage treatment plant discharges to a watercourse, and the property or proprieties has less than 27 people living there.
- If the sewage system is not near a protected or designated area for the environment or groundwater supply. For example, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or a Source Protection Zone for drinking water. We can check this for you once we have received your application.
- Your system has been correctly designed, installed and maintained during the operational lifetime of the treatment system
How we can help
As part of our Pre-Purchase Home Owners Drainage Survey we can advise whether an Environmental Permit is required. The easiest way to register an Exemption Permit is for the home owner to register on-line with the Environment Agency. If you are unsure on how to complete the online form we can help you.