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Did I purchase a house with an illegal septic tank?

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  • Woolsery
    Woolsery Posts: 1,535 Forumite
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    I  think it likely there is a soak-away and no direct link from tank to pipe. The soak away may be too small as well as inefficient. One way to tell is to just open a couple of taps and wait 5-10 minutes. If the flow from the pipe increases the link is direct, otherwise something is interrupting the flow, like passing through a drain field first.
  • LHW99
    LHW99 Posts: 4,286 Forumite
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    we did have a camera out down from the house to the tank which reported the pipework to be fine, but didn’t go from the tank to the outlet

    Worth doing. We had one at a previous property, and had to have the outlet pipe run replaced soon after moving in,as we found the tank was filling very quickly. Turned out the pipe had been crushed at some point. Otherwise there were no problems, and it worked very well for many years.

  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,484 Forumite
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    I'm so sorry you are in this position, I wonder why they replaced it? Can you go on the mains?  I was interested to see my buyer has now registered listed planning permission - saying it is on the mains.  No sewer nearby to my knowledge and I lived there for twenty years, god knows where it is going now! 
    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • canaldumidi
    canaldumidi Posts: 3,511 Forumite
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    Woolsery said:
    I  think it likely there is a soak-away and no direct link from tank to pipe. The soak away may be too small as well as inefficient. One way to tell is to just open a couple of taps and wait 5-10 minutes. If the flow from the pipe increases the link is direct, otherwise something is interrupting the flow, like passing through a drain field first.
    Good idea. This plus the dye test is surely the next step before messing around with cameras and full drainage survey.

  • MoneySavingMiss95
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    Youth_leader no mains to go onto unfortunately. I assume they replaced it to keep up with new legislation as they answered one question “cesspit replaced by septic tank December 2020” so I can only assume best explanation is they offered to do it instead of the owner before them to get some money off the purchase price?
  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,484 Forumite
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    How odd to replace a cesspit with a septic instead of a new processor.  Will you have one installed?  There are posts on here about them and they aren't too expensive.

    Sorry you have this to deal with.  I was glad to leave my septic tank behind, I remember digging up soiled disgusting gravel from around the shared drain one freezing day just before a viewing, not an experience I'd ever want to repeat! 
    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • MoneySavingMiss95
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    I think we will have to go for the treatment plant so that we can drain into the watercourse.

    Neighbours have either a pit or tank I didn’t catch when we last spoke, but they empty every 7 weeks because they don’t have soakaway at the cost of £300, that’s more than my mortgage payments! 
  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,484 Forumite
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    That's bonkers - every 7 weeks?  Perhaps they might consider a treatment plant too, might get a discount if both of you are doing it at the same time.

     I thought we were hard done by having to empty every six months one year.  The soakaway was in our neighbour's garden and he refused us access to check it and asked me if I 'put fat' down the sink!  I was 45, not 15!  Unfortunately had to declare it as a dispute when I sold as we went to a solicitor.  Neighbour finally agreed for us to 'hand dig' to find the soakaway and it was confirmed his builders had broken the pipe when they did his drive.  We didn't speak to them for seven years.
    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • MoneySavingMiss95
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    Neighbours did suggest banding together to one but we are just a house of two and they are bigger plus run B&B so I’m not overly keen as we don’t know them very well and whilst you never set out to fall out with anyone you’ve just outlined the exact reasons why I’m hesitant! I will ask whether installing two separate tanks by the same supplier would warrant a discount and just leave the info with neighbour to do as they wish. Lots of phone calls to make tomorrow it seems.
  • canaldumidi
    canaldumidi Posts: 3,511 Forumite
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    edited 24 April 2022 at 9:16PM
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    I imagine an installer would charge less for two simultaneous installations than for two entirely separate contracts.
    I share a treatment plant with my neighbour (in his garden), and we have a Deed registered against both properties giving me right to use it and specifying shared costs.But if your neighbour runs a B&B that might complicate things in terms of usage.
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