The Bio-Pure is a small packaged sewage treatment plant, which can discharge directly to surface water (and groundwater) as it is treated.  The rules for discharging sewage effluent in England and Wales have recently changed (on 6th April 2010) under The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. You will now need to apply for an exemption or for a permit (if you do not qualify for exemption).  It is illegal to discharge sewage effluent without a registration (of exemption) or permit.  Failure to register or obtain a permit may result in enforcement action by the Environment Agency.

There are certain criteria to meet in order to apply for an exemption.  If these criteria cannot be met, then you should apply for a permit.  Firstly, you will need to know how much effluent you will be discharging a day.  The Environment Agency has a simple way to work out the volume that you will be discharging each day (see below).  This will give you a good idea whether you should apply for a permit or exemption.

Please note that this only applies to domestic effluent, if your effluent contains trade effluent, please view the information on permits.  It is probably wise to speak to your local Environment Agency too.

If you are discharging to:

·         Surface water (i.e. a watercourse) under 5m3 a day; or
·         Groundwater (i.e a soakaway) under 2m3 a day

If you are discharging

·         To surface water over 5m3 per day; or
·         To groundwater over 2m3 per day

Take the number of properties (i.e 2) x 2 (i.e 4)
Take the number of bedrooms (i.e 4) (2 in each house)
Take the total of the above sum (which in this case is 8)
To work out the volume of liquid discharged you will take 8 x 150ltrs (150ltrs per person is the excepted use per user) = 1200 ltrs – convert ltrs in cubic metres is divide by 1000 = 1.2 cubic metres

Who needs ‘Consent to Discharge’?

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) recommends that you get in touch with them to discuss your options.

How to apply

Contact your local SEPA office prior to submitting an application.  Once you are ready to submit an application, this can be done online providing that the population equivalent is 15 or under.  Contact your local office if the population equivalent is above this.

If you already have Consent to Discharge this will automatically become an environmental permit.  You do not need to re-apply.
If you are discharging 5m3 a day or less from a sewage treatment plant to surface water, you will need register for an exemption, before making a discharge.  If you have already made a discharge, you need to register as soon as possible.
If you are already discharging or intending to discharge 2m3 a day or less from a sewage treatment plant to groundwater, you will need to register your discharge by 1st January 2012

*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