What is the new EPP2 regulation?

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If you are not on a mains sewage system then the Environment Agency require you to register your waste water system with them so that they know who is pumping treated effluent into the ground or into watercourses.

Pollution

How will the new EPP2 regulation affect you?

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If you have already have or wish to install a new septic tank or a sewage treatment plant you will either have to pay for a permit to discharge your effluent or you may qualify for a discharge exemption.

One of the main requirements is that any of the products you would like to install must be tested and approved to specific quality and performance standards as specified by the Environment Agency.

When will the EPP2 regulation come into effect?

Here's the news - it already has! The EPP2 regulation became law on 6th April 2010. Existing owners should ensure their septic tank or sewage treatment system is registered with the EA by the deadline of January 2012, so get your skates on!

Where does the EPP2 regulation cover?

The EPP2 regulation only applies to England and Wales.

Does the EPP2 regulation apply to my property?

If you have a septic tank or sewage treatment plant then almost certainly.

Will I have to pay or not?

Assuming your tank is on the approved list then this depends on the size of your system, you can obtain an Exemption To Discharge for free if:

  • You have a sewage treatment plant that discharges up to 5m3 per day or less (approximately a 25 person tank - most domestic tanks are for 6-12 people) into surface water (a stream, ditch, river or surface water drain).
  • You have a septic tank or sewage treatment plant that discharges up to 2m3 (which is equivalent to 12 people using the tank) per day or less into groundwater (ie. a soakaway system). Again, most single dwellings should qualify.

How do I know how big my tank is?

It's all about how many litres of day end up in the ground (via a soakaway) or into surface water drains (ditch/stream/river/surface water drains). Here's a quick guide to working out the likely size of your tank - although for older, usually brick tanks, the size can vary.

  • The size of your tank (measured in litres of flow per day it can handle). As a rough guide a septic tank or treatment plant can handle 200L of waste water per person per day. If your house has 2 bedrooms, then your tank should be able to handle 2 bedrooms x 2 people x200L per day = 800L per day. This would be a 4 'Population Equivalent' tank. Therefore if your system is able to handle 10 people (5 bedrooms x 2 people x 200L per day) then you are at the limit of the ETD rules, that is your tank would have a flow per day of 2000L (2m3) IF it is outletting to groundwater.
  • However, if you have a sewage treatment plant (NOT a septic tank) that outlets to surface water then the rules are more generous, so that you can have a maximum flow rate per day of 5000L (5m3), which works out at 12.5 bedrooms x 2 people x 200L (i.e. a 25 population equivalent plant).

Our system is bigger than that, what now?

If you live in a very big house or have a shared septic tank or sewage treatment system then your system may discharge more than the limits noted above. If this is the case then you will have to apply for a Discharge Permit. These can cost upto £850.

Where can I register for EPP2?

You can visit the Environment Agency at www.environment-agency.gov.uk

For more specific information see our step-by-step guide on how to apply for an exemption to discharge. We include a worked example to help you through the process.

What will it cost me to register for EPP2?

Nothing. The process for EPP2 registration is completely free.

I already have a septic tank installed. Do I need to do anything?

That depends:

  • If your tank was fully operational prior to 1991 the owner should have obtained a Consent to Discharge under the Water Resources Act 1991. Septic tanks and sewage treatment plants that have been granted this consent do not need to be re-registered under EPP2
  • Any system installed after 1991 should apply for the new Exemption To Discharge

What if I suspect my system isn't registered with the EA?

Apply for an Exemption, its simple and free, see our step-by-step guide on how to apply for an exemption to discharge.

If in doubt give us a call and we can clarify your situation for you.

If you don't you have the old Consent to Discharge or the new Exemption to Discharge could find yourself in hot water:

"Any existing septic tank or sewage treatment plant installed after 1991 in current operation that does not possess a consent to discharge are in violation of the Environmental Agency regulations therefore the owner will need to apply for a new application to gain an EPP2 exemption."

I need a new or replacement sewage system for my house, should I contact the EA first?

The best thing to do is call up an installation firm for a free quote (ie. Lancs Tanks if you're in Lancashire). They should specify an EA/EPP2 compliant solution. After doing this we recommend applying for an 'Exemption To Discharge' from the EA before agreeing to a solution, notifying them of your plans. They will get back to you with a decision within 15 days. This ensures that you do not waste any money on an inadequate system.

Which systems are approved by EPP2

The British Water website contains two lists that contain sytems that have been properly tested and approved for installation.

The first list (EN-12566 Part 1) contains approved septic tanks, the second list (EN-12566 Part 3) contains all approved sewage treatment plants. So if you have one of these systems or going to purchase one AND they discharge small amounts (see above) then you should be granted an Exemption To Discharge providing that septic tanks outlet only to soakaways not close to boreholes or watercourses. Sewage treatment plants can normally outlet to watercourses or groundwater.

Why is it that only certain products are approved under the new EPP2 regulations?

Septic Tanks and Sewage Treatment Plants that are approved for use under the EPP2 regulations have all undergone the EN-12566 testing procedure. Systems not on the list are likely to be denied an Exemption To Discharge because there is no way of telling if they work properly or not.

Still confused?

Call us and we'll do our best to advise you on your best course of action.

Please note that this information was correct at the time of publishing (April 2011). Any updates or amendments subsequently made by the EA may not be reflected here. This information defers to the EA's documentation should they differ in content.