If you're not on the mains sewer you probably use a private sewage treatment system, such as a septic tank.
This will discharge to land or water and could cause pollution. By law, it must be registered.
You should ask us to check if you’re not sure whether your treatment system is already registered. If it is and you register it again, we can’t offer a refund.
Register an existing small sewage discharge
You can register your existing discharge online if the system:
- is more than two years old; and
- serves up to nine properties.
To register online, you’ll need to:
- select the address of all properties that use the treatment system; and
- provide a one-off payment of £170*.
*SEPA is required by the Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM)to recover our costs for regulating activities, including the development, running and maintanance of services.
For advice on how we will handle your personal information, see our Privacy Notice
It’s quicker to register online. If you can’t, or if you need help to do this, contact us:
- Online through the contact us form.
- By calling the SEPA Contact Centre 03000 99 66 99.
The Contact Scotland BSL service will give you access to an online interpreter.
After you register
- Your answers and registration will be added to the public register.
- The registration will be issued to you by email.
- The conditions in it must be met to prevent pollution. Failing to meet these conditions is against the law.
Register a new small sewage discharge
This section covers the registration of new (< 2 years old) sewage discharges serving up to 3 domestic properties (or for commercial sewage discharges only, a population equivalent (P.E.) of up to 15. You can work out the population equivalent using Flows and Loads Publications (britishwater.co.uk)).
- If you have a new sewage discharge you should connect to the public sewer where reasonably practical. You should contact Scottish Water and no authorisation from SEPA is required.
- If you can’t discharge to the Scottish Water sewer, you should discharge your treated sewage effluent to land via a constructed soakaway provided the ground conditions are suitable. Where a ground investigation report (percolation tests) confirms the Vp is between 15 and 100 secs/mm, a septic tank or package treatment plant will normally be acceptable. Please refer to WAT-RM-04: Regulation of Indirect Sewage Discharges to Groundwater.
- If you can’t connect to the public sewer or discharge to land, you may be able to discharge to a river/stream/loch/sea.
- If the receiving river or stream is shown on the 1:50,000 OS Landranger Map, a package treatment plant will normally be acceptable. You can find this out by using our NGR Tool.
- If the receiving river or stream is shown on the 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map, a package treatment plant and a partial soakaway of minimum 10m2 per property will normally be acceptable.
Please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to making an application to register your discharge if:
- Your discharge is within or within 50m of the Scottish Water sewer network, but you do not propose to make a connection. You can get information on the sewer network here Asset Plans - Scottish Water.
- Your discharge is within the Loch Leven (Perth and Kinross) or Lunan Lochs catchments.
- You are proposing to discharge to a closed soakaway and the ground investigation report (percolation tests) confirms the Vp is <15 or >100 secs/mm. A closed soakaway is a soakaway with no overflow into a surface water.
- Your discharge is to a freshwater loch.
- Your discharge is to a river or stream that is not shown on the 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map. You can find this out by using our NGR Tool.
- Your discharge is to a river, stream, estuary or the sea and within 1.5km of a Bathing or Shellfish water. You can find maps of shellfish waters at Marine Scotland - National Marine Plan Interactive and bathing waters at Bathing Water locations in Scotland.
Application forms to register your new (< 2 years old) sewage discharge serving up to 3 domestic properties (or for commercial sewage discharges, a population equivalent (P.E.) of up to 15) can be found on our Application forms webpage. Please email application forms, along with supporting information, to email@example.com