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    • lovehols
    • By lovehols 12th Jan 18, 7:01 PM
    • 214Posts
    • 122Thanks
    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
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 13th Jan 18, 12:17 PM
    • 419 Posts
    • 501 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
    • 2,379 Posts
    • 2,349 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
    • 20,321 Posts
    • 16,070 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
    • 17,582 Posts
    • 15,942 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
    • 25,274 Posts
    • 92,992 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!
    'It's a terrible thing to wait until you're ready…..Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.' Hugh Lawrie.
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 13th Jan 18, 6:47 PM
    • 871 Posts
    • 4,876 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

    £600 of £2000
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Jan 18, 7:12 PM
    • 25,274 Posts
    • 92,992 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.
    'It's a terrible thing to wait until you're ready…..Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.' Hugh Lawrie.
    • hollie.weimeraner
    • By hollie.weimeraner 13th Jan 18, 7:24 PM
    • 1,520 Posts
    • 995 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
    • 836 Posts
    • 852 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
    • 1,520 Posts
    • 995 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
    • 25,274 Posts
    • 92,992 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.
    'It's a terrible thing to wait until you're ready…..Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.' Hugh Lawrie.
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