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Regulations

Do I need a consent to discharge approval certificate for my existing septic tank / sewage treatment plant?

Yes, all septic tanks and sewage treatment plants MUST have a consent to discharge approval, this is a legal requirement.

What is the difference between BS EN 125566-1 and BS EN 125566-3?

BS EN 125566-1 is the mandatory standard required for certification of a Septic Tank, BS EN 125566-3 is the mandatory standard required for certification of a Sewage Treatment Plant.

Do I need planning permission for a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant?

Yes, from 1st January 2015 you will require planning permission, building control approval along with consent to discharge approval from the NIEA to install any new Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant.

What if I already have a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant installed before 1st January 2015?

If you already have a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant installed before 1st January 2015 you still need a consent to discharge approval from the NIEA, also any Septic tank discharging directly to a watercourse must be upgraded to a Sewage Treatment Plant or the homeowner will face prosecution, ”See General Binding Rules For Septic Tanks”.

What is the acceptable minimum sized capacity of a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant?

The minimum acceptable sized capacity of any Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment plant compliant with Northern Ireland Building Control regulation is 2.7 cubic metres; it should then also be correctly sized using the British Water Flows & Loads table to determine the correct capacity relevant to the daily occupancy and use.

How do I correctly design / size a drainage field for a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant?

You should refer to the guidelines in British Water’s code of practice – “Drainage fields for the Disposal of Septic Tank and Small Wastewater Treatment systems effluent”.

How do I know which tank I need, is it a septic tank or a sewage treatment plant?

Maintenance and De-suldging

How often should I be de-sludging the Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant?

All Septic Tanks / Sewage Treatment Plants must be designed and certified to contain a minimum of 12 months sludge capacity; this is a mandatory requirement under the new EU legislation SR66.

When do I service my Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant?

As part of the consent to discharge approval obtained, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain their Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant, the operation manual relevant to the product should specify the service requirements, usually once a year for small Sewage Treatment Plants.

Installation distances

How far should a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant be installed from a dwelling?

The general guideline referred to by building control NI is the one used by the Environmental Health Services which is 15 metres.

How far should a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant be installed from a river?

The EPA minimum recommended separation distance between a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant and a river or stream is 10 metres.

How far should a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant be installed from a roadside?

The minimum recommended separation distance between a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant and the roadside is 5 metres.

How far should a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant be installed from a well?

As per Environmental health guidelines a Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant including the percolation drainage field should be at least 50 metres away from a well.

What is the maximum distance a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant can be located away from a hard surface area to allow access for de-sludging?

The maximum distance a Septic Tank / Sewage Treatment Plant should be located away from a hard surface area to allow access for NI Water for desludging purposes is 30 metres.

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