Are you responsible for properties that have a septic tank? Here is what you need to know

It is estimated that up to 5% of UK properties are not connected to mains drainage, and instead have their own off mains drainage system such as a septic tank, sewage treatment plant or cesspit. In rural areas, the prevalence of these types of drainage systems is much higher.

If a property is owner-occupied, the responsibility for the maintenance of the drainage system is clear – the buck stops with the property owner. The same applies when it comes to the responsibility for ensuring that the system is compliant with the applicable rules and regulations that apply.

UKDP team David Gough drainage expert

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To find out more about how UKDP could help you, contact David Gough on 01628 788600 or email

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However, when the property is tenanted and managed, things can be less clear-cut. Some tenancy agreements might put the onus onto the tenant, but if a system hasn’t been properly maintained across multiple tenancies, who is going to take responsibility for any pollution fines or, worse still, the substantial cost of a new system?

If you are responsible for owning or managing multiple rural properties connected to a septic tank, or any other off mains drainage system, it can seem daunting. It can be difficult to know what condition the system is in, given that it sits underground and out of sight. Crucially, it can be even more challenging to navigate the rules and regulations set down, and to determine whether each property’s system complies.

Keeping you compliant and your drainage system healthy

UKDP is here to help. We are the UK’s septic tank experts. We combine an unrivalled knowledge of septic tanks with a thorough, detailed and proven understanding of the environmental regulator’s rules and regulations. What makes us different is our decades of experience. There isn’t a scenario we haven’t seen so we know what works and how to make it right, first time, every time.

Our tried and tested approach

We will always offer a bespoke solution for each client, but we use a common, tried and tested framework to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. The framework has six stages:

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1. Appraise

We work with you to understand your current situation, the number and type of properties involved, their physical location and their existing systems. We will also ascertain your preferred timeframes.

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2. Prioritise

From the findings of the appraisal we will be able to identify those properties that are most at risk of being non-compliant, as well as those with the greatest propensity to cause an environmental incident. We will agree these priorities with you.

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3. Survey

We will undertake a full survey of the priority groups before rolling this out to the lower-risk groups. The surveys will consider current condition and current compliance.

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4. Report

We will create a tailored report that gives you an easy to understand overview of the combined survey findings, along with the more detailed individual survey reports. This will also contain recommendations and the estimated costs associated with the remedial works at each home or property.

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5. Remedy

We will agree with you a programme of works and systematically repair or replace systems that have been identified as faulty or non-compliant. This will be done at a pace agreed with you.

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6. Maintain

We offer an ongoing maintenance programme to ensure you get the longest service from your septic tanks, either existing or new. We would recommend an annual inspection which would report on any issues, potentially reducing expenditure by identifying problems before they become chronic. This is optional but recommended.

We already work with some of the UK’s biggest landowners and property managers to ensure that their properties’ drainage systems are fully compliant with applicable rules and regulations. By engaging us, you can evidence to the Environment Agency your commitment to full compliance, even if that is not achievable immediately. If you could benefit from our specialist expertise and proven approach, then we would be pleased to assist.

We’ve been delighted with the service provided by UKDP. They are methodical, dependable and always courteous. We believe their expertise to be unrivalled and would recommend them without hesitation

Matthew Burton, Associate Director, Fisher German LLP.
UKDP team discuss septic tank insurance report

We are already helping landowners and property managers to get the most out of their off mains drainage systems, whilst also staying fully compliant.

Find out how we can help you.