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There's a fairly strong bias against off-mains sewerage in the planning department possibly as a result of this problem, so I imagine most, if not all, of the houses that are likely to get permission to go ahead will be connected to mains sewers. I'd guess that retrofit for some people will be an absolute pig of a job and as a result they may not go ahead. We do at least have access for a reasonable size excavator and concrete deliveries where ours is. Obviously there's always likely to be existing access for a truck to pump the tank out, but they can do that from a distance just with a hose so it may not be sufficient to get machinery in to install a replacement.

I've had a message elsewhere from someone who used to live in Exeter who says that they had to bring their septic tank up to more modern spec before they could sell their house some years back. Apparently it cost them £25k!


A good number of years ago now a relative of mine died and the house was sold at auction. It transpired during the process that the sewer from the 300 year old house went straight into a main drainage ditch to the Yorkshire Ouse. Similarly a few other properties of varying ages alongside the same ditch had the same arrangements. The purchaser of my relatives house installed a bottle style septic tank with a soakaway drainage field which satisfied the requirements at the time.