Private Drainage – Are You Compliant?

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Although understandably not a subject which generally attracts a lot of attention, both home-buyers and sellers need to be aware of new rules on private drainage known as the ‘General Binding Rules’. This means thousands of such drainage systems may require upgrading or replacement to ensure compliance. Armitstead Barnett deal with many rural and prestigious properties which rely on septic tanks and non mains drainage for their sewage discharge. Their purpose is to provide a way to dispose of foul drainage and wastewater where there is no mains drainage available.

For homeowners with non mains drainage who plan to sell their property before 1 January 2020, when the rules come into force, it is important to act now. Legislation means that they will shortly be required to install a new drainage system, upgrade to their existing system, or have an agreement in place with the new buyer before taking up occupation, in order to comply with the new code of practice and to avoid penalties.


In some cases, it may be possible for an existing septic tank to be retained, subject to the installation of a replacement drainage field or infiltration system. However, a septic tank which discharges directly into a surface watercourse may need to be replaced with an alternative system.

In respect of property transactions, failure to act now could result in an agreed sale being delayed or falling through. Our recommendations are to act as soon as possible and have the drainage system surveyed by a specialist contractor in order that the matter can be dealt with in good time, to the benefit of both vendors and purchasers. Our experienced sales teams can provide further advice, contact your local office today.


Authored by

Mark Heaton

South Lancashire

07395 793913


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