How to Register Your Treatment System

Registered Septic Tank

As explained in our EPP2 Guide it is a requirement that all septic tanks and sewage treatment plants have the either the old Consent To Discharge (pre-1991) or the new Exemption To Discharge (ETD). If you are the owner of one of these systems and don't yet have a consent or an exemption then you are now required by law to apply for an exemption by the Environment Agency. The deadline for the new certificate (ETD) is January 2012.

We've made it easy for you to register by putting together a step-by-step guide of how to do it. It's free and easy if you follow these simple steps:

Step 1 - Fill out this form

  • Open a web browser and fill out this form.
  • It is in PDF format, so you may need to download Adobe to view it.
  • Once you've opened it you should be able to edit it online.
  • You can save it to your computer hard drive by selecting 'File' then 'Save As' from your browser.
  • Save it as something sensible like 'my_house_number_and_postcode_ETD'.pdf

Amongst other things the EA need to know:

  • Whether you have a septic tank or sewage treatment plant (The latter usually have an electricity supply if you are not sure).
  • Whether the discharge is to surface water (ditch/stream/river/surface water drain) or to groundwater (ie. a soakaway).
  • 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).
  • Whether the tank outlets to groundwater or surface water drainage system
  • Whether the tank is already outletting to the environment, or whether it is a proposed new outlet
  • The exact location of the tank and the outlet point to a drainage system in relation to your property

Step 2 - Create a map of your property

The EA require a map showing your property, the location of your tank, and the location of the outlet of your tank. Follow these instructions to generate a suitable grid reference and map:

  • Open a Word document, if you don't have Word (Open Office is free and you can use it to save as .doc) and write in your address, postcode and the purpose of the document.
  • Open a web browser and click on this link.
  • Insert your postcode
  • Identify your property, where your tank is and where it outlets to
  • Right click on the map once where your tank is, this is now 'pinned' as Point B
  • Right click on the map once where your tank outlets to, this is now 'pinned' as Point C
  • Press F11 on your keyboard to make the web page full size on your screen, you should now be able to see both the map and the grid reference points for each point you have created
  • Press Alt and 'PrtSc' (short for print screen) at the same time on your keyboard. This takes a snapshot of whatever is physically on your screen, hopefully just the map. This map image should now be on your clipboard in your computers memory
  • Press F11 again to get control of your screen again

You should end up with a picture looking like this:

Exemption To Discharge Example Map
  • Go back to your Word document and select Edit, then Paste. It should now paste in the map you have generated. You may wish to resize it so it fits properly
  • Immediately after the picture inside your new document you should include a key such as:
  • Save the document with a sensible file name such as 'house_number_postcode_etd_map.doc'

Step 3 - Send your form and map to the EA

  • Email both your completed form and the map to
  • OR print them and post them to:
    Environment Agency
    Quadrant 2
    99 Parkway Avenue
    Parkway Business Park
    S9 4WF.

Step 4 - Wait for a reply

The EA will reply with their decision within 15 days. It's usually quicker by email. If all goes well then you will be granted a certificate of exemption. If not you might want to consult us on what you can do to fix any issues the EA may have with your system

Map document example

Here's an example document that shows a property with Grid References for the septic tank and it's outlet position. You can download it and 'Save As' and put in your own property details as shown in the steps above. You should submit a document of this format by email or post to the EA along with your Exemption To Discharge form.