Septic Tanks and Cesspools

This Council does not operate a cesspool or septic tank emptying service.

Problems such as leaking, blocked or overflowing cesspools and malfunctioning septic tanks can be investigated by the Environmental Protection Team.


  • A cesspool is a sealed underground tank where all the sewerage from a property or properties is stored.  There is no intent to treat or discharge the sewage and its function is simply to collect waste.

Septic Tanks

  • A septic tank system will usually be built of brick or a modern plastic.  These tanks have the advantage that they settle and partially digest the settled sewage.
  • A consent from the Local Authority and the Environment Agency will be required for a new installation.

Traditional Sewage treatment Plants

  • In a Conventional Filter Bed System, of which there are many in existence, the sewage has about 95% of its polluting matter removed.  The primary settlement (or septic) tank removes gross solids, the filter bed biologically treats the sewage and the humus tank settles out the fine solids.

Modern Sewage Treatment Plants

  • A modern sewage treatment unit comprises of a small electrically driven packaged plant, usually all contained in one housing.

Reed Beds

  • A modern Reed Bed sewage treatment system can successfully treat sewage to the required standards.  It usually comprises a settlement tank to remove gross solids, followed by either vertical or horizontal flow, over specially prepared reed beds of specific reeds. 

Sub-Irrigation Drainage Systems

  • Where the water table and nature of the soil allow satisfactory absorption, disposal of sewage effluent (after settlement) can be by means of a sub-irrigation drainage system.    The installation of such a system would be subject to an application under Building Regulations and to the Environment Agency.

For further and more detailed information please refer to our septic tanks and cesspool information leaflet.


Environmental Protection Team
Tel: (01444) 477292

Building Control Team
For site inspections and general information:
Tel: (01444) 458166