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Environmental permits are now required for all properties with a private drainage system

Posted on July 12, 2010

If you own a property with a Private Drainage System, either as a home or business, under the new Regulations you are required to have an Environmental Permit for the discharge of waste or alternatively register for an exemption (unless the alternative method of waste disposal is into  a cesspool). Private Drainage Systems include septic tanks and private sewage treatment plants.  If you already have a water discharge or a groundwater permit, as of April 6th that automatically becomes an Environmental Permit, therefore there is no need to apply.

Commercial Properties

 If you own a commercial property that has a Private Drainage System then you must register for an Environment Permit for the discharge of the trade effluent. There are two types of Permit.

 1. A Standard Permit is applicable where the sewage treatment plant discharge does not exceed 20 cubic metres a day. These are the easiest and cheapest to apply but the capacity criteria must be fulfilled.

2. A Bespoke Permit is required for higher risk activities and where discharge exceeds 20 cubic metres a day. These are written specifically for the property and activity being undertaken. This process is much longer and more expensive than the standard permit.

Domestic Properties

If you are a home owner with a Private Drainage System you may be eligible for an exemption if your sewage treatment discharges less than 5 cubic metres per day of surface or ground water.  You must apply for the exemption and register before 1st January 2012. 

Registration is currently free and can be done on the Environmental Agency’s website or by post. If you do not register your exemption and the Environmental Agency discover you are discharging effluent, further action may be taken. 

If you do not fall within the exception or have a previous water discharge or a groundwater permit then an Environmental permit will need to be applied for. The Environmental Agency should inform you if this applies.


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