The UK’s Environment Agency has updated the septic tank regulations, with far-reaching consequences for consumers and industry professionals. Systems that discharge to a river, stream, canal or ditch must be replaced from 1 January this year amid fears that this may contaminate drinking water sources and pollute the environment.
Under the Septic Tank Regulations 2020, owners of septic tanks in England are no longer allowed to discharge to a watercourse. For those working within the industry, this means a surge in septic tank conversions, as existing systems are made compliant.
Under the new rules, a drainage field or soakaway system must be installed so that the septic tank can discharge to ground instead, or the septic tank must be replaced with a sewage treatment plant.
Protecting the environment is a priority for all of us. However, every tweak to the rules creates red tape and extra process for wastewater professionals. The general binding rules for septic tanks have been updated several times over the last few years, creating an administrative burden for the industry that adds both cost and complexity.
I founded BigChange back in 2013 to help relieve the compliance burden for professionals dealing with changing legislation and complex regulation. Our JobWatch platform is now being used by 40,000 office and mobile users across multiple industries. The platform automates all of the paperwork associated with meeting standards and adhering to regulation, in an efficient and intuitive way.
For businesses that need to prove that their septic tank upgrades or replacements are fully compliant, JobWatch is the ultimate solution. It keeps a log of all work carried out and the parts used; a verified audit trail.
Each JobWatch-enabled tablet enables users to take live pictures of sites, septic tanks, new installations, and parts and link them to a specific job and worker within the software. Progress can be tracked remotely and signed off by management. If the legislation should change again, or should disputes arise, the system offers complete protection: proof the job was done correctly.
The system is already being used by companies from across the drainage sector to drive efficiencies and streamline complex processes. One company has reported a million-pound boost from using the software. Kirk Mason, who heads up operations at Subscan UDS, the nationwide utility, drainage, and survey company, told me: “Our previous system only offered partial automation and we wasted a lot of time double touching to keep different systems up to date. What we needed was a seamless flow of data from start to finish with an audit trail of activity. In the end there wasn’t anything that matched BigChange for functionality; it gives us that seamless connectivity and it has replaced five separate systems – saving us time and money.”
It is impossible to control regulatory changes but it is possible to mitigate their impact. By allowing JobWatch to do all the grunt work, drainage professionals are free to focus on what they are good at – growing their businesses.