UK environmental regulations

Consent to Discharge has been replaced by Environmental Permitting Programme – Second Phase (EPP2).

As of 6th April 2010, you may apply for exemption from a Permit to Discharge if the following criteria are met:

  • Discharge is to ground and is of 2m³ per day or less via a septic tank and infiltration system (soakaway) and is outside a source protection zone 1 (approximately 9 people occupying a single property)
  • Discharge is to surface water (ditch, stream, river) and is of 5m³ per day or less via a package sewage treatment plant (approximately 31 people occupying a single property)
  • Sewage is only domestic
  • Sewage system is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (if not, British Water codes of practice and technical guides) and you keep a record of all maintenance
  • Discharge does not cause pollution of surface water or ground water

For more information on Exemption from EPP2 or the check if you are in a Groundwater Protection Zone, see the Environment Agency web site.

The Building Regulations 2000 Drainage and Waste Disposal 2002 edition Part H-H2

Package Sewage treatment Works

The main provisions of these regulations are:

  • The Sewage Treatment Plant must be sited more than 7m from habitable property.
  • The discharge point shall be more than 10m from habitable property.
  • If the discharge is to a soak away a sampling point must be provided before the soak away. These are available from us.

Clause H2 0.1/ 1.16 “Septic tanks should be sited at least 7m from any habitable parts of buildings, and preferably down slope”

As Clause 0.1 links septic tanks with wastewater treatment systems, then you should assume that this clause related to a BIODIGESTER.

Clause 1.54 “The discharge from the wastewater treatment plant should be sited at least 10m away from watercourses and any other buildings.” Subject to consent from the Environment Agency, the treated effluent can be discharged directly to a watercourse or a ditch.

You will need to decide where the effluent is going, in most cases it is either to a soak away or a ditch/ stream. If it is to a soak away, you will have to carry out a percolation test. You will also need enough space to install a soakaway on the land available.


Note the actual length of the pipe will depend upon the size of the plant and the porosity of the soil. The example shown is for a T6 Biodigester.

If you are discharging to a soak away you should install a sampling point before the soak away. These are available from Burnham Environmental Services Ltd.

You will need to ensure that a road tanker for emptying will be able to get within 30m of the plant. If the access is higher than the unit the differential should be within 5m.

The unit is not designed to be installed in a driveway, unless you ensure that the loading of traffic is carried by some form of support to take the load away from the structure of the BIODIGESTER.

If the unit is installed in a field with livestock, protect the access lid with a stock fence.

If you are to install in an area of a high water table, you may need to use a BIODIGESTER with an integral pump. This allows the effluent to be discharged near the surface and has a non return valve to ensure that it will not flood.

If the installation is in an area of flooding, we can provide a neck extension to raise the access lid above the flood level. Many people build a flower bed around it.

If any of these criteria cannot be met, contact us. There are always ways around the problem.



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