Wastewater Treatment Considerations
For any new development, or any pre-existing infrastructure, adequate wastewater disposal and treatment processes are required. This not only ensures that sanitation levels are maintained but also has multiple benefits for the environment.
During the early stages of the development the plans of the water and sewerage companies are rigorously inspected to ensure that they align with the development needs and provide an environmentally friendly solution. The first part of any wastewater treatment proposal will address means of wastewater discharge into a public sewer which in turn will be treated at a seweage treatment works. Any plans will need to be completed in consultation with the relevant sewage company to ensure that all the necessary precautions have been taken and that all environmental requirements are addressed.
Septic tanks provide a further option for wastewater treatment but the applicant would need to be able to clearly demonstrate that discharging into a public sewer in order to be treated at a public sewerage treatment works is not practical either logistically or financially.
The regulations that are currently in place with regards to septic tanks cover minimum treatment standards, construction and replacement; these are all contained in building regulations H2 and BS 6297 2007.
Most septic tanks installed these days are constructed out of reinforced plastic meaning they are just as strong as any concrete tank. They are also single piece so there is no risk of leaks. Concrete tanks often have the lid fitted following installation which over time can become susceptible to leaks and other damage associated with installation. If you are purchasing a certified septic tank you will need to ensure that it is to EN12566-1 standards. EN 12566 - Small wastewater treatment systems for up to 50 PT (population total) refers to a set of European standards which specify the general requirements for packaged and/or site assembled wastewater treatment plants used for domestic wastewater treatment for up to 50 PT.
Whilst individual standards apply to installation and manufacture of various components of a wastewater system, the EU Water Framework Directive applies to surface waters (including some coastal waters) and groundwater (water in underground rock). It states that “member states must prevent deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and protect, enhance and restore water bodies to ‘good’ status”. When processing an application that is inclusive of a wastewater treatment system the planning authorities must take into consideration the river basin management plans on the Environment Agency website. These plans contain the main issues for the water environment and the necessary actions needed to address them. All planning authorities will be fully conversant with these management plans and will be able to advise if your plans do not mitigate this in a satisfactory manner.