Sewage Discharge Options

Options for discharges of sewage effluent

Sewage can be discharged into the environment by two methods:

  1. Direct to watercourses - ditches, streams, rivers etc. - sewage treatment plants
  2. Directly to ground  - soakaway drainfields ONLY - septic tanks and sewage treatment plants

Only sewage treatment plants with an EN12566-3 Certificate can be discharged to watercourses. If they don't have this performance certificate, then they cannot be classed as a sewage treatment plant anymore and new ones must be treated as if they were a septic tank.

From July 1st 2013, all septic tanks must also have an EN 12566-1 certificate in order to be sold in the UK. Most septic tanks for sale in the UK don't have this, so be warned.

You cannot discharge sewage effluent to soakaway pits anymore. Nor can you use soakaway crates, tunnels, etc. as these are for surface (roof) water only. You are not allowed to discharge sewage effluent into boreholes or wells without special permission from the EA as this method can directly contaminate groundwater that is abstracted for public drinking water. The EA will check that you are nowhere near a drinking water abstraction point and that you don't have an aquifer under your site.