Residents Neglecting Septic Tank Rules Risk Costly Bills & Fines

01 October 2021 by CSG

CSG Operator Emptying a Septic Tank

A significant number of septic tank owners run the risk of unpleasant emergencies, unwelcome costs and even fines by ignoring a key piece of legislation, says a leading waste management company.

CSG, which operates domestic sewerage services throughout England, and Wales reports a rising volume of call outs from residents who have neglected regular maintenance, which can escalate into an expensive clean-up and repair operation – or even legal action.

Steve Hicks, HR & Operations Director for CSG, said: “The Environment Agency (EA) advice is clear – septic tanks and cesspits must be emptied once a year to prevent a build-up of sludge which can cause the system to fail.

“We regularly encounter households who never had their septic tank emptied. They then come to us when it is too late.  

“When a septic tank is operating as designed, waste going in will settle into sludge and water, with the water draining off. Over time a build-up of sludge reduces the capacity of the tank and, if left uncleared, can block up the drainage field from the tank.

“An overflowing tank can cause damage to the garden and prevent toilets and showers from working properly and, in extreme cases, send waste flowing back into the property, causing distressing mess and damage.

“With the new ‘General Binding Rules’, owners face the possibility of fines if their septic tank discharges straight into a watercourse. Such tanks must be upgraded to a sewage treatment plant under the new rules. Septic tank owners who are in any doubt should consult a professional company to carry out a survey.

“The expense of rectifying such problems far outweighs the cost of regular maintenance, which is why we support the EA’s recommendation that septic tanks must be emptied annually.”

The EA advises that all sewage treatment systems must be desludged at least once a year or in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tell-tale signs of sewage system issues include:

  • Tank fills up faster than usual
  • Sewage smells
  • Slow draining toilets or sinks
  • Pools of water or damp patches around the drainage field

CSG is a registered waste carrier and offers a complete survey, installation, emptying, and cleaning service for septic tanks, cesspits and sewage treatment systems, supporting more than 30,000 customers.

Steve Hicks added: “Looked after properly, a septic tank can last a lifetime with no problems, and regular maintenance checks offer an early warning system for any potential repairs or when a replacement might be necessary.

“Our experienced operators are happy to notify the customer of any issues they can see while carrying out the desludging, helping to ensure the system continues to operate as designed and avoiding unnecessary problems.”

CSG, which operates from 27 sites across the UK, is one of the largest privately-owned industrial and domestic environmental waste management groups in Britain. CSG employs over 550 people nationally, operating a national network of waste treatment and recycling service centres.