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Exemption to discharge

What is an exemption?

This is an exemption from having to obtain permission to discharge your small sewage effluent.  You must meet certain criteria to be able to apply for an exemption.

Circumstances for obtaining an exemption

You may be eligible for exemption where sewage effluent is discharged either:


* to surface water (i.e. a river, stream, estuary or the sea) and the volume is 5m3 a day or less 


* to groundwater via a drainage field or filtration system and the volume is 2m3 a day or less


and you meet the further criteria. This will include:


   * You must have necessary planning permission and approval for building regulations.


   * You must not discharge trade effluent. The effluent must be domestic in nature and not cause pollution.


   * You must not reasonably be able to connect to a public foul sewer.  You can not register if you are within 30 metres.


   * You must not be in close proximity to a sensitive site, which includes; conservation areas, bathing waters and groundwater source protection zones (The criteria is different for discharges to groundwater and surface water).
Click here to see groundwater protection zones (click on groundwater).


    * You must install and operate the system properly.  You will also need to properly maintain your sewage treatment system and keep records for 5 years.


    * When discharging to surface water, the water body must have water in it throughout the year.

The Environment Agency state that you must read the Technical Guidance for the Registration of Small Sewage Effluent Discharges, to ensure that you meet all of the criteria. Please note that this is a draft until Defra publish the final copy.

If you cannot meet the criteria, you must speak to the Environment Agency, as you will need to apply for a permit. View the information on permits.

Registering your exemption

Registration is done through the Environment Agency and is free of charge.  The occupier of the land must notify the Environment Agency of the exempt small sewage effluent discharge.  Some information will be required for the exemption.  This will include:


* The occupiers name and address (including post code)

* Location of the discharge

* A description of the small sewage effluent discharge

* Agreement to comply with and abide by the conditions of registration

* A 6 digit National Grid Reference of the discharge point

Register for an exemption here.

If you cannot meet the criteria for an exemption, you will need to apply for a permit. 

View information on permits.


Go back

The above information has been cited from the Environment Agency website and is intended as a guideline only.  Significant pieces of information relating to discharges from sewage treatment plants only are included on this page.  For full information please contact your local EA or visit their website.  Please note that it is your responsibility to check with the Environment Agency whether you need to obtain a Permit to Discharge. 



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