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septic tank

Thinking of buying a property with a domestic septic tank?

7th February 2022 by Aisling Scott

Categories: What's New?

Many properties will be connected to mains drainage but this is not always the case. Have a read of our tips below to consider if you are looking to buy a property with a different arrangement.

Our top tips below:

  1. Consider the General Binding Rules 2015

The General Binding Rules 2015 are legally binding regulations introduced to set minimum standards and conditions applicable to all septic tanks and sewage treatment plants which make small sewage discharge in England and Wales. There are technical requirements within the rules which can be here

  1. Instruct a surveyor

We can help legally with enquiries and reading the above regulation but an expert opinion is strongly advised. An expert surveyor will consider the condition of the tank, whether drainage lies within your boundary or other neighbouring boundaries, whether works are needed to remedy issues or if an update to a small sewage plant is required.

  1. Has the seller kept their records?

It is always good if records are kept together. For example, every time the septic tank has been emptied and/or serviced, is there documentation of this? Another example is evidence to show the tank is compliant with building regulation. If the seller has stored their records, it will show that they have been keeping the tank under review. 

  1. Consider exactly what is located at the property.

Upon discovering the property is not connected to mains drainage, consider what type of domestic tank is at the property. There are three different arrangements that could be in place and it’s critical to know the difference between. See the definitions below – any one of these may be located at the property;

Cesspit = a sealed underground tank that simply collects wastewater and sewage without a processing or treatment involved.

Septic tank = an underground tank where the solids sink to the bottom and the liquid flows out and soaks through the ground.

Small sewage treatment plant = also known as a ‘package treatment plant’ – a system that treats the liquid so it’s clean enough to go into the ground or a surface water.

If you would like any further information on this topic or Conveyancing please visit our Residential Property page on our website or contact  John Munro on 01202 377839 or email John on and he or a member of his team will be happy to help.

Aisling Scott

Trainee Solicitor

Direct dial: 01202 377805


Aisling Scott

Aisling is in her second year of her training contract at Laceys and has thoroughly enjoyed working hard to gain experience in various legal departments. Aisling is planning to spend the remaining part of her training contract in the property department – both residential and commercial.

Aisling undertakes a variety of tasks for the property department, from transfer of a portfolio of properties, to reporting on leasehold and freehold transactions and from drafting leases to commercial negotiation. All of Aisling’s experience has been with the guidance of many supportive colleagues and she is eager to learn more.

Away from work Aisling is very busy putting on her DIY hat taking inspiration from lots of interior design social media accounts.  Aisling also enjoys fitting in a bit of fitness most mornings, walking her Cairn Terrier Stavely and eating good food with friends and family! 

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