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2020 General Binding Rules

What are the 2020 General Binding Rules? The General Binding Rules for small sewage discharges (SSDs) have been put in place to protect England's surface water resources (e.g. rivers, streams etc.) from pollution caused by septic tanks and other small-scale sewage treatment plants.

If you own, live in, or are building a property off the mains sewage network it’s important you are aware of the legislation.


Under the new regulations you can no longer discharge low quality effluent from septic tanks directly into ditches, streams or other watercourses. Instead, you have the option of replacing your system or upgrading it to incorporate a drainage field. This is also known as an infiltration system and means the effluent can seep into the ground for further treatment by soil bacteria.


Releasing to the ground


You must apply for a permit if you release (‘discharge’):

  • to a well, borehole or other deep structure 

  • more than 2 cubic metres (2,000 litres) per day 

  • in a groundwater source protection zone (SPZ1)


Natural England’s push for achieving Nutrient Neutrality


Natural England’s push for achieving Nutrient Neutrality for all new developments considered to be within catchments feeding the Solent region has seen a demand for processes that are fully nitrifying, unlike a large proportion of the standard package treatment plants that do not reduce total nitrogen. 


If a developer is unable to provide suitable acceptable mitigation measures to offset a positive Nitrogen Budget for a new development the individual schemes can be held up from gaining planning approval as a consequence, until a monetary agreement is reached for the cost per Kg of Total Nitrogen a particular development will produce extra over to the previous land usage. Should a Negative Nitrogen Budget be achievable then there would be no mitigation requirement. 


This position is not exclusive to the Hampshire basin; Natural England has identified other areas of concern around the country where nutrient reductions are needed. The rivers that feed the Natural harbours of the Southern region being predominantly chalk fed over part of their catchment means that Nitrogen levels that have accumulated after years of farming emerge from aquifers and lead to formation of dense mats of algae due to the excessive build-up of nutrients in the environment.  Poorly treated wastewater is considered a major contributor to the overall problem.


The Advanced Aeration process used by our Bio Bubble system is fully nitrifying meaning that the levels of Total Nitrogen within the final effluent are renowned for being a process that can consistently achieve reductions of Total Nitrogen above 90%.  Please see our newsletters page for more information.

If you need help  you've come to the right place.  With our extensive knowledge and years of experience on quality standards and discharge controls, we can take the hassle out of the EA application process, we are also able to help with Nutrient Neutrality documentation.


Please contact us for a quote - simply press the HELP button below to send an email or  call us direct on 023 9220 0669.





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