Buying A Property With A Septic Tank
Posted on 29th June 2020
Buying a property in rural Lancashire may mean that you are purchasing a property with a Septic Tank and due to recent changes in the law your Property Solicitor may be required to ask more in depth questions of the Seller’s Solicitors. You will often find a septic tank or a small sewage treatment plant at a property when it is not connected to the mains sewer.
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is an underground tank where the solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank, the liquid flows out of the tank and soaks through the ground.
How is a Sewage Treatment Plant different to a Septic Tank?
A sewage treatment plant has a mechanical element to it, this element treats and cleans the liquid waste so that it becomes clean enough to travel to the river/stream.
Can I sell a property if it has a Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant?
You can but you must ensure that you are adhering to the new General Binding Rules. If you are the operator of a Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant you must ensure that any sewerage being discharged is domestic in nature, i.e. from a bathroom, shower or kitchen. If you are not sure whether you meet this criteria contact the Environmental Agency and they will be able to advise.
You must also ensure that the tank or plant is not polluting the area.
How do I know if my Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant is causing pollution?
For Septic Tanks check for:
- Sewage smells
- Pools of water in the area you release the sewage
For Sewage Treatment Plants check for:
- Sewage smells
- Overflowing sludge
- Signs of white scum or foam on the water around the area where you release sewage
You should contact the Environment Agency Incident line if you see signs of pollution.
Releasing sewage from a Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant:
If you are releasing sewage you may need to apply for a permit to do so particularly if your sewage is discharged to a well, borehole, deep structure, if you are releasing more than 2,000 litres per day or if you are in an area which has a groundwater source protection zone.
What are your Property Solicitors doing to help?
Here, at MG Legal, our property Conveyancers are up to date with the changes to the rules and have an in-depth knowledge of the local area so we know what questions we should be asking of the Seller’s Solicitors and when we should be asking them.
We are also using the updated Property Information Forms which ask the Seller to confirm if the property is served by a septic tank that discharges directly into surface water and if so asks the owner to do one of the following:
- Connect to a mains sewer
- Install a drainage field so that the tanks can discharge to the ground instead
- Replace the septic tank with a sewage treatment plant
The property owner must have plans in place to carry out this work within a reasonable timescale, typically 12 months.
MG Legal’s Property Solicitors in Preston have an extensive knowledge of the conveyancing process, including dealing with freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, new build purchases, help to buy transactions, transfer of equity, remortgages and general property advice. Contact us now for a quote via contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lancaster 01524 581360, or Preston 01772 783314, or our property solicitors in Garstang on 01995 602 129.
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