Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • lovehols
    • By lovehols 12th Jan 18, 7:01 PM
    • 77Posts
    • 23Thanks
    lovehols
    We can't find the Septic Tank
    • #1
    • 12th Jan 18, 7:01 PM
    We can't find the Septic Tank 12th Jan 18 at 7:01 PM
    We have a purchase going through on a house. It was built in the 70's and we have had a full structural survey.

    We raised with the surveyor we hadn't been able to find the septic tank. The surveyor located two vent pipes but also was not able to locate the septic tank (there is a large garden area next to a canal, which in part is overgrown).

    The rest of the survey was fine overall, though we did negotiate some further money odd due to some roofing issues. The vendor who is dealing with probate after inheriting the house from a friend knows very little about the property and has no idea either and to his knowledge doesn't think it had been emptied ever and is one that has 'chambers'.

    We have spoken to the vendor and insisted that he has it inspected, emptied and some kind of certification from a company which is then sent to our solicitor (as well as confirming the location of the tank)! Does this sound OK? Is there anything else we need to do?
Page 2
    • martindow
    • By martindow 13th Jan 18, 12:03 PM
    • 7,336 Posts
    • 4,115 Thanks
    martindow
    It shouldn't be too hard to find as it will most likely have a drain cover over it so it can be inspected and emptied. At this time of year it should be visible even if it is overgrown.

    Some old brick septic tanks are very large or leak hence the stories about tanks not emptied for decades. If you leave emptying septic tanks too long, solids start running into the pipes in the leach field that can be very very expensive. It is safest to empty it every couple of years - you will still be better off than with mains drainage where you would be paying a lot more to water companies.
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 13th Jan 18, 12:17 PM
    • 300 Posts
    • 347 Thanks
    maisie cat
    Modern septic tanks are onion shaped and need emptying because there is not enough surface area at the top for bacterial conversion(?) but old chambered ones do convert the waste and the liquid drains out so they need emptying infrequently. If the house was occupied by one person, as it's a probate I assume yes, then it won't necessarily need emptying annually, depends how much waste you produce. Do the neighbours know? if there house is similar the tanks might be in similar relative locations if that makes sense.
    • Alter ego
    • By Alter ego 13th Jan 18, 3:09 PM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 2,151 Thanks
    Alter ego
    It's not a regulation; it's a recommendation on many web-sites.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    The Department of the environment doesn't seem to agree with you, although under the heading guidance it says "you must" Go figure.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/comply-with-septic-tank-and-sewage-treatment-plant-permits
    Ignore me if you like, it's not the real me anyway.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 13th Jan 18, 4:03 PM
    • 19,135 Posts
    • 14,816 Thanks
    agrinnall
    The Department of the environment doesn't seem to agree with you, although under the heading guidance it says "you must" Go figure.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/comply-with-septic-tank-and-sewage-treatment-plant-permits
    Originally posted by Alter ego
    To be read in conjunction with this, so doesn't apply to most septic tanks.

    https://www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks/apply-for-a-permit
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Jan 18, 5:25 PM
    • 16,039 Posts
    • 14,338 Thanks
    AdrianC
    As explained, septic tanks need only eriodic emptying
    Originally posted by G_M
    The p has been emptied already, it seems...
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Jan 18, 5:28 PM
    • 23,927 Posts
    • 90,076 Thanks
    Davesnave
    The Department of the environment doesn't seem to agree with you, although under the heading guidance it says "you must" Go figure.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/comply-with-septic-tank-and-sewage-treatment-plant-permits
    Originally posted by Alter ego
    To be read in conjunction with this, so doesn't apply to most septic tanks.

    https://www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks/apply-for-a-permit
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    As above, you go figure.

    I note the government thinks their rules have been simplified!
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 13th Jan 18, 6:47 PM
    • 821 Posts
    • 4,743 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Not sue about England, but in Wales, we had to register all septic tanks with I believe the Environment agency. And you have to keep a record of when it was emptied in case they ask for it, to evidence regular maintenance. Not annually though.

    They do need emptying, because the solids can settle and set at the bottom, thus reducing the capacity of the tank over time.

    You should be able to see evidence of the tank in the garden. If not, it could be that there is no tank and just a run off into the stream. Illegal but effective and cheap for the previous owners.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    2018 MFW #135

    £100 of £2000
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Jan 18, 7:12 PM
    • 23,927 Posts
    • 90,076 Thanks
    Davesnave

    You should be able to see evidence of the tank in the garden. If not, it could be that there is no tank and just a run off into the stream. Illegal but effective and cheap for the previous owners.
    Originally posted by Tahlullah
    It's a canal. If there was direct run off to a canal, I'm sure it would have been noticed years ago and reported.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • hollie.weimeraner
    • By hollie.weimeraner 13th Jan 18, 7:24 PM
    • 1,438 Posts
    • 849 Thanks
    hollie.weimeraner
    Not sue about England, but in Wales, we had to register all septic tanks with I believe the Environment agency. And you have to keep a record of when it was emptied in case they ask for it, to evidence regular maintenance. Not annually though.
    Originally posted by Tahlullah
    If the home owners in England can comply with the "General Binding Rules" they don't need to do anything at all.
    Anyone that has a brick built septic tank that still discharges to a watercourse will need to get it converted to an infiltration system by 2020 or if they sell the property before then they need to convert it prior to the sale taking place.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water

    https://www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 13th Jan 18, 7:53 PM
    • 489 Posts
    • 487 Thanks
    Margot123
    It's a canal. If there was direct run off to a canal, I'm sure it would have been noticed years ago and reported.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    You would be surprised!
    I live in a row of cottages, and when one became empty after decades in the same family, the septic tank could not be located.
    Odd though it may sound, someone came with divining rods and traced it........all the way to the river. There was just a drainpipe where it all 'plopped' out. No one had ever noticed as it was so well hidden.
    A septic tank was installed in somewhat of a rush after that and we are all sworn to secrecy OH DEAR!
    • hollie.weimeraner
    • By hollie.weimeraner 13th Jan 18, 8:50 PM
    • 1,438 Posts
    • 849 Thanks
    hollie.weimeraner
    If the home owners in England can comply with the "General Binding Rules" they don't need to do anything at all.
    Anyone that has a brick built septic tank that still discharges to a watercourse will need to get it converted to an infiltration system by 2020 or if they sell the property before then they need to convert it prior to the sale taking place.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water

    https://www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks
    Originally posted by hollie.weimeraner
    Forgot to add, if in any doubt and you live in England you can ring the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 for specific advice on the regulations.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Jan 18, 9:12 PM
    • 23,927 Posts
    • 90,076 Thanks
    Davesnave
    You would be surprised!
    Originally posted by Margot123
    None of that surprises me; I use divining rods myself and I've been around long enough to have seen an old thunderbox, conveniently mounted over a stream, thus doing away with the bucket stage.....but that was 50 years or more ago now.

    This is a canal we're discussing. Canals move slowly and most of those still left have people who use them and care for them. Fishermen and boat owners would notice things like that.

    The Environment Agency also test water, even on quite small streams such as the one on our land. When they did that back in the 1980s they didn't like what they found, which is why all the septic tanks around here were upgraded at the same time.

    Much more recently, a friend whose land's traversed by another stream, noticed pollution, apparently coming from a converted manor house, so he called in the EA, who followed the pollution back to its source, confirming his suspicions. Two of the flats in this manor house were up for sale at the time, but the next day they weren't, because the EA had put a legal stop on their transfer until an acceptable sewerage system was put in place.

    It's possible this tank feeds into a leach field close to the canal though. So long as there's no black, oily sludge at the surface, the position of that might be hard to find.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

454Posts Today

4,481Users online

Martin's Twitter