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    • Twinklepony
    • By Twinklepony 15th Jan 20, 5:58 PM
    • 6Posts
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    Twinklepony
    New septic tank legislation
    • #1
    • 15th Jan 20, 5:58 PM
    New septic tank legislation 15th Jan 20 at 5:58 PM
    Hi guys anyone here selling their house and coming up against problems with the new legislation regarding septic tanks that came into effect 1/1/2020? We are having a nightmare with our buyer with regards to compliance and the solicitor seems to not know much about it which is allowing the buyer to pull all the strings at the moment..... so please if anyone is currently going through this - drop me a shout so I know Iím not the only one in the world whoís dealing with it - from a frustrated vendor !!
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 15th Jan 20, 6:08 PM
    • 51,150 Posts
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    G_M
    • #2
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:08 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:08 PM
    I had this last year when buying a house (I pulled out in the end but for different reasons).

    The tank clearly did not comply - discharged into a watercourse - and I realised it would need upgrading to a small sewerage treatment plant. The seller knew nothing (not even about the existing tank, let alone the new requirements), and I decided (before I pulled out) that I'd just have to ignore the seller, rely on my own survey and quotes to upgrade and take the hit.

    What exactly is the issue you are facing?


    edit: as seller, you have a duty to inform the buyer in writing where the tank is, how it works, where it discharges, and how often/when it's been emptied. I think there's a requirement to empty it annually which is mad as it destrys the good bacteria......

    https://www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks


    See also the general binding rules
    Last edited by G_M; 15-01-2020 at 6:13 PM.
    ** If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link! **
    • Twinklepony
    • By Twinklepony 15th Jan 20, 6:38 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Twinklepony
    • #3
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:38 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:38 PM
    Hi there thanks for that - the buyer wants me to confirm that it complies to the new legislation but I’m not sure if it does or doesn’t - I only know I get it emptied once per year and that’s it !

    This sale has been dragging on for a few months now and the buyer had a surveyor look at the property who also couldn’t confirm ! The tank was installed over 60 years ago so who knows !

    I have offered the buyer half the cost of having a treatment plant installed as a gesture if it does require replacing - not that I actually know if it does but they are still not happy with that ! Solicitor doesn’t know so the buyer has a company coming to look at the tank to see what they think ?

    Was just interested if anyone else is having these issues as I know of a few friends that are now selling (we all live rurally) and they are facing the same issues too
    • G_M
    • By G_M 15th Jan 20, 7:24 PM
    • 51,150 Posts
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    G_M
    • #4
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:24 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:24 PM
    I think offering to pay half was a mistake, but still.

    I would simply provide as much info as you can (read the general binding rules for what sellers must say! ) and then advise the buyer to rely on their own investigations. If you're not sure, do not say it does, or does not, comply! Then leave it to the buyer to decide.

    OK, they might pull out.

    Or might decide they've invested enough money and emotion already that pulling out is silly.
    Or they might ask for something off the price (which you've effectively already offered).
    Then leave it up to them.

    If they don't make a decision in a reasonable time-frame, get your agent to start marketing again.
    ** If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link! **
    • diggingdude
    • By diggingdude 15th Jan 20, 8:51 PM
    • 1,475 Posts
    • 1,972 Thanks
    diggingdude
    • #5
    • 15th Jan 20, 8:51 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Jan 20, 8:51 PM
    Hi there thanks for that - the buyer wants me to confirm that it complies to the new legislation but Iím not sure if it does or doesnít - I only know I get it emptied once per year and thatís it !

    This sale has been dragging on for a few months now and the buyer had a surveyor look at the property who also couldnít confirm ! The tank was installed over 60 years ago so who knows !

    I have offered the buyer half the cost of having a treatment plant installed as a gesture if it does require replacing - not that I actually know if it does but they are still not happy with that ! Solicitor doesnít know so the buyer has a company coming to look at the tank to see what they think ?

    Was just interested if anyone else is having these issues as I know of a few friends that are now selling (we all live rurally) and they are facing the same issues too
    Originally posted by Twinklepony
    I hope it isn't a company which sells new devices
    House owner as of 27.3.2019
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 15th Jan 20, 9:16 PM
    • 30,156 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #6
    • 15th Jan 20, 9:16 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Jan 20, 9:16 PM
    Are you sure there have been no indications regarding the location of the discharge and drainage field?


    In both of the recent very dry summers there would have been no prizes for spotting ours; the areas of lush grass were a give-away.
    You have been warned!
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 15th Jan 20, 10:21 PM
    • 27,546 Posts
    • 27,721 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #7
    • 15th Jan 20, 10:21 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Jan 20, 10:21 PM
    Treatment plants aren't quite as scary as people think. We've got one being fitted in a few weeks - it was actually cheaper than replacing the septic tank and drainage field, and a lot less invasive. We're having other work done at the same time - but ballpark for the plant itself, installed and including electrics, change from five grand.

    Because of the proximity of a stream, even a replacement tank would have been outside the regs for us.
    • paddyz
    • By paddyz 15th Jan 20, 11:14 PM
    • 141 Posts
    • 596 Thanks
    paddyz
    • #8
    • 15th Jan 20, 11:14 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Jan 20, 11:14 PM
    I’ve beeninvolved in selling a family members house with a septic tank that was on common grazing about 20 metres from the garden so had to buy the land, this was before the new regs came in but I believe at that time they had other regs in place
    Nothing was on any plans from 80s but had to be added for the sale

    In the area I live in now not many solicitors are clued up on the process, one friend didn’t have the septic tank mentioned
    Mortgage start Oct 12 £104,500
    current Nov 19 £56,290
    term 9 years aiming on being mortgage free by 7
    Weight Up & down 14st 7lb
    • Twinklepony
    • By Twinklepony 16th Jan 20, 8:31 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Twinklepony
    • #9
    • 16th Jan 20, 8:31 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Jan 20, 8:31 AM
    Yes the buyer had a company that sells new septic tanks and treatment plants coming out ! Which to me doesnít seem fair as of course they are going to try and sell them a new one !
    • Twinklepony
    • By Twinklepony 16th Jan 20, 8:32 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Twinklepony
    Adrian C

    Could I ask who you are using to install your treatment plant ? As that seems like a really good price
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 16th Jan 20, 8:54 AM
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    AdrianC
    Could I ask who you are using to install your treatment plant ? As that seems like a really good price
    Originally posted by Twinklepony
    Local groundworks guy, very highly regarded. The local "Big Name" charge £200+vat just to come and give an estimate.

    The plant itself is a Marsh Ensign (I went for the Ultra, with an extra filter on the output because of a stream ~20m downhill, with a nature reserve 200m downstream), ~£2.5k inc vat for the 6-person, supplied by the local builder's merchant.

    https://marshindustries.co.uk/products/ensign-sewage-treatment-plants/

    His recommendation of that was based on the personal experience of having a Klargester BioDisc at his own home, and a Marsh at his sister's...

    We're having other work done at the same time - but that part of the estimate is for the plant install. We've had issues with the pipework to the old tank blocking, because of inadequate fall. Getting the rods out clears it quickly, but let's just say that's Not My Favourite Job, and I'm very dubious about the existing tank and leach field - which is just at the start of a steepish slope and heading under a lot of mature trees, so the tipping point making the plant cheaper than a new tank was the labour involved in re-digging the field.

    The paperwork requirements - and my own insistence on not sending rogue floaters through the nature reserve - are just the icing on the cake.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 16th Jan 20, 9:20 AM
    • 30,156 Posts
    • 103,668 Thanks
    Davesnave
    Yes the buyer had a company that sells new septic tanks and treatment plants coming out ! Which to me doesnít seem fair as of course they are going to try and sell them a new one !
    Originally posted by Twinklepony
    The question was asked in good faith, but I would ask who else, besides someone in the business of installing drainage, could be expected to come out and make an assessment at a reasonable cost?
    You have been warned!
    • Twinklepony
    • By Twinklepony 16th Jan 20, 10:00 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Twinklepony
    I understand what you are saying Davesnave but I look at it like I am looking at my onwards purchase - if there is something I am concerned about I would have a specialist independent non biased survey to explain what I need - to me this is like asking Anglian Windows if I need a new front door - of course they are going to say yes I do ! But I think I may have found some ideas to help move things along.
    • Madmel
    • By Madmel 16th Jan 20, 10:14 AM
    • 668 Posts
    • 1,288 Thanks
    Madmel
    When we bought out house, we had a full structural survey done, which included the waste treatment system. Our RICS surveyor described it as "the Rolls Royce of treatment plants". This was back in 2006 and it dated from 1997/8. It is a Klargester Bio Disk. Would there be a qualified surveyor who could take a look?

    It is serviced annually but the top tank isn't emptied as that's where the bacteria are. The sludge tank is pumped out twice a year. We do have 2 cottages also on the same system (owned by us) but they are not fully occupied so we could probably drop the de-sludging down to annually. However, the installing company does the work and when we have had a problem, they are really quick to sort it, so it's a small price to pay. If you want the name of the company in Devon, PM me
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 16th Jan 20, 10:57 AM
    • 30,156 Posts
    • 103,668 Thanks
    Davesnave
    I understand what you are saying Davesnave but I look at it like I am looking at my onwards purchase - if there is something I am concerned about I would have a specialist independent non biased survey to explain what I need - to me this is like asking Anglian Windows if I need a new front door - of course they are going to say yes I do ! But I think I may have found some ideas to help move things along.
    Originally posted by Twinklepony
    I get what you're saying too, but if finding one of these independent, non-biased surveyors is as hard as it is to find independent damp and wood treatment specialists, then your purchasers may have had little choice.


    There are swathes of the country where the latter are like chicken's teeth.
    You have been warned!
    • Dyrham
    • By Dyrham 16th Jan 20, 12:59 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Dyrham
    The Environment agency effectively delegated the responsibility of deciding if tanks are compliant to professional installers.

    If you have a tank that is old, discharges its overflow without any treatment to a drain that eventually finds its way to a stream or ditch then that is no longer legal from 1/1/2020.

    Many solicitors and estate agents are catching up with this so any buyer is right to ask it be fixed or the price reduced to fix it themselves.

    A google search on 'new septic tank rules 2020' will produce hundreds of hits now. Waste companies, estate agents, solicitors blogs etc.

    This gets very complicated when several properties share a tank and one wants to sell....
    • Catti
    • By Catti 16th Jan 20, 1:40 PM
    • 364 Posts
    • 399 Thanks
    Catti
    The tank was installed over 60 years ago so who knows !
    Originally posted by Twinklepony
    https://www.wte-ltd.co.uk/septic_tank_general_binding_rules_2020.html#Englan d
    If your septic tank was installed before 1983, then this was before any British Standards were in place. Your tank does not have to meet the above standards.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 16th Jan 20, 2:02 PM
    • 27,546 Posts
    • 27,721 Thanks
    AdrianC
    If you have a tank that is old, discharges its overflow without any treatment to a drain that eventually finds its way to a stream or ditch then that is no longer legal from 1/1/2020.

    Many solicitors and estate agents are catching up with this so any buyer is right to ask it be fixed or the price reduced to fix it themselves.

    A google search on 'new septic tank rules 2020' will produce hundreds of hits now. Waste companies, estate agents, solicitors blogs etc.
    Originally posted by Dyrham
    TBF, the regs were changed with effect from 2015 - it's just that this year's the final deadline for compliance.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-the-ground

    It shouldn't have come as a great surprise to anybody.
    • Twinklepony
    • By Twinklepony 16th Jan 20, 2:12 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Twinklepony
    I have found a company that will install a treatment plant for £6500 plus the dreaded so have offered to go halves with the buyers but they still are not happy and want another company to come and look - on investigation this company only deal with super expensive treatment plants £18k !!

    I think I have been really fair with my offer to go halves to make it compliant - they also had a Rics surveyor look at it at he didn’t know !

    I just wish they would be fair too - my onward purchase has a septic tank but I haven’t got stressed about it - I have had a surveyor take a look and just waiting for the results but if that didn’t comply and the vendor offered half I’d be happy with that !

    And the before 1984 rule doesn’t really apply unfortunately - it’s basically all septic tanks so I have been told today but good thinking
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