What are the sewage treatment regulations for holiday parks and golf courses?


The rural location of caravan parks and golf courses means that they’re often reliant on off-mains sewage treatment solutions to manage their waste. Here’s our guide to the regulations and sewage treatment options available:

What are the regulations?

Holiday and caravan parks as well as golf courses are often set in the rural countryside away from the main sewer network. Their rural location means that there can often be subject to strict compliance limits for ammonia, phosphorus, nitrogen and BOD. 

Sewage, in particular, needs to be treated and stored in a compliant way to avoid treated effluent from polluting the local environment and discharging into sensitive watercourses or estuaries. Failure to comply with the latest sewage treatment legislation can result in significant fines from the Environment Agency (EA).

The legislation for septic tanks also recently changed (January 2020). If you are based in England and Wales and have a septic tank that discharges directly to surface water, such as a river, ditch or stream, then you are not compliant with the new legislation. This means you need to urgently replace or upgrade your sewage treatment system or you risk significant fines from the EA. Read more about this recent change in legislation by clicking here.

What are the requirements of a sewage treatment solution?

When considering a sewage treatment system for a holiday park, caravan park or golf course there are a number of unique conditions to consider. These include:

  • Highly variable loadings 
  • High variations in seasonal flows due to occupancy
  • High effluent standards due to the rural location
  • Automatic operation and low maintenance requirements as specialist staff is unlikely to be available onsite
  • Low noise operation requirement

What are your off-mains sewage treatment options?

Option 1: Sewage Treatment Plant

This is the preferred solution and is an aerobic process which greatly accelerates the digestion of sewage and produces an environmentally acceptable quality effluent. This in turn allows you to dispose of the effluent rather than having to pay to have it removed from a cesspool.

The treated water from a sewage treatment plant can go into a running watercourse, groundwater soakaway or in some instances a storm drain. 

Option 3: Septic Tank

Slightly cheaper than a sewage treatment plant, this is the next best environmentally friendly option. Septic tanks only partially treat sewage at the top of the tank, near to oxygen, and discharge effluent of low quality. The process is mainly anaerobic and therefore much slower than a sewage treatment plant.

The by-product of anaerobic breakdown is hydrogen sulphide – this is what often causes the noxious smell around a septic tank. Many authorities in the UK & Ireland prohibit their use. There are very few situations that a septic tank is suitable.

Option 3: Cesspool

This is always the last option we consider for you. A cesspool is purely a large holding tank with an inlet only. It offers no treatment at all and the contents have to be regularly removed by a licences waste carrier with a vacuum tanker.

Unlike a sewage treatment plant or septic tank where effluent constantly runs away and can therefore be sized accordingly, a cesspool has to contain everything and will be up to 20 times the physical size and volume.

If you are on a confined site with no access to electricity, watercourse, soakaway or storm drainage, a cesspool could be your only option.

Chemical toilet waste from touring caravans can only be discharged into a cesspool.

To read in more detail about these sewage treatment options and what is involved, please click here.

How can we help?

We’re one of the UK’s leading providers in pollution control and can provide you with a solution to meet your specific needs and budget. We can provide you with expert advice on the different options available to you. We also offer an installation option if a complete package is required.

Please get in contact – 0121 351 3230.

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