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Septic tanks and private sewage treatment systems

Register a small sewage discharge

You can register a small sewage discharge by visiting our small sewage discharge webpage.

You must meet the conditions of registration, which includes regular maintenance. Information on maintenance of septic tanks is available in the Septic Tank Guide. The British Water Guide for Users of Packaged Wastewater Treatment Plants is available on the British Water website along with other useful guidance documents. 

In England septic tanks need to be upgraded by 2020. This does not apply in Scotland.

Read the full Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011

Read the amendments to the regulations

Or read our summary of the regulations

Campervan Waste Water Disposal Guidance

SEPA has produced guidance on the process and options for developing new campervan and motorhome waste water disposal facilities. It is produced in partnership between SEPA, The Highland Council and Scottish Water.

Read the Campervan and motorhome waste disposal guidance.

Restarting private sewage treatment systems following shutdown

British Water have produced guidance for restarting package sewage treatment plants and a list of suitable maintenance engineers can be found on their website.

Seasonal holiday use can result in a period of low or no flow of sewage effluent to sewage treatment plants. Restarting the plant could cause pollution due to the biological processes not yet working properly to treat the effluent. If you are unsure of how to proceed, then you are advised to seek technical advice on restarting.