For those of us who live in built up areas, it’s easy to take sewage systems for granted, but in rural locations, septic tanks play a vital role in waste disposal. However, they are far from a modern concept.

It’s believed that the first septic tank was invented by a man named Jean-Louis Mouras in France around 1860. The Frenchman wanted to find an easy method of waste disposal and believed that storing waste rather than disposing of it straight away was a safe and hygienic option. He designed and built a prototype tank from concrete and stone with clay piping to dispense the waste from his home.

Ten years after constructing the tank, it was dismantled to check the contents, and Mouras was surprised to find it contained nothing but organic waste made up of mostly liquid.

With the help of scientist Abbe Moigno, Mouras patented his invention in 1881, and in just two years, the septic tank had made its way to the USA. Thanks to the British military, Mouras’ early septic tank design spread throughout the rest of the world and was gradually fine-tuned to become the more recognisable septic tanks we see today.

By the 1940s, septic tanks were cheaper to build and widely popular, prompting the first UK standards. This was followed by the 1956 Code of Practice, which included coverage of settlement tables, installations and treatment of sewage, among other things.

Today’s septic tanks are usually made of fiberglass, concrete, PVC or plastic, and are much more durable than Moura’s first design. The codes of practice have also improved, with the latest revision in 2015 prompting big change for many septic tank owners.

2020 Septic Tank Regulations

In January 2015, the Environment Agency introduced new septic tank regulations called ‘General Binding Rules’.

Under these rules, septic tanks that discharge directly to a watercourse, such as a stream or river, must be replaced or upgraded with a sewage treatment plant by January 1st 2020, or if the home is sold before this date.

If you are an owner of a septic tank, it is your responsibility to comply with these rules and ensure the system is maintained properly.

To stay on the right side of the law, you can choose from the following alternatives:

1. Install a drainage field

2. Connect your septic tank to the mains sewer

3. Switch your septic tank for a sewage treatment system

If this regulation change affects your property, don’t worry – the team at Mayglothling is here to help.

Our engineers can help you with a range of issues, including desludging, servicing, repairs and final effluent monitoring.

When Mayglothling Waste empty or service your system, we will leave a Waste Transfer note or Engineer’s Report to help you understand your unit, its limitations and to ensure it meets the legal requirements.

For more information or to book an appointment, call us on 01544 230364.