Septic Tanks

Please note that the council no longer operates a septic tank emptying service.

If you need to have a septic tank / cesspool emptied it is suggested that you contact a private contractor.


Registration of Septic Tanks

You either need to apply for a permit or qualify for an exemption in England if your home has a:

  • septic tank
  • small sewage treatment system (known as a 'treatment plant' or 'package plant')

Information on permits and general binding rules for Septic tanks and treatment plants


General Advice to Householders

Below you can find some general guidance for the owners of septic tanks.

1 Understand how the system works

Most systems involve settlement by gravity, the action of micro-organisms and dispersion of the effluent into the sub-soil.

2 Locate all manholes, pipes and tanks

Knowledge of the position on the system within the garden will prevent unnecessary damage to pipe work and aid emptying and maintenance.

3 Check the level of sludge at regular intervals

At least three times a year dip the tank to check the level of sludge in the chambers because if this gets into the sub-soil drains they will loose their porosity.

4 Arrange emptying of the sludge often enough to prevent damage to the land drainage system.

Determine emptying frequency on sludge levels and NOT on whether the system is blocked and unable to work. Once the sludge has entered and land drains it is very difficult to regain their porosity. It is recommended that tanks are emptied at least annually.

5 Prevent unnecessary surface water gaining access to the system.

Divert any rain water into a separate soakaway or ditch as this clean water requires no treatment and may overload the system. Check the walls of the tank during emptying for ground water penetration and carry out remedial works if required.

6 Keep harmful chemicals out of the system as far as possible.

The bacteria in your tank are helping to purify the sewage and if they are killed be excessive use of bleach or other bactericides the system will break down. Keep the use of detergents to a minimum as these chemicals impair the sedimentation process.

7 Consider the affects on the system from any alterations to your premises.

Additional sanitary fitments, washing machines and dishwashers will inevitably result in extra sludge and in turn to more frequent emptying. Extensions, garages etc must not prevent the emptying tanker getting to within 200 feet on the system.


Additional Useful Information:

Information and advice on desludging your sewage treatment system
Information and advice on the operation of your sewage treatment system