Navigating Septic Tank Regulations in South Africa is something that takes time and expertise. We break down below some of the key points of septic tank regulations.
Septic tank and soakaway systems are the most widely used system of waste water disposal in the South African coastal area. In view of the highly variable loadings linked to holiday seasons, few resorts have water-borne sewerage and even many of the newer developments rely on conservancy tanks and a centralized waste water soakaway system. The design and management of these systems vary from area to area and even within single municipalities, as different design criteria have been applied over the years.
Septic tank systems (also knows as “french drains”) must be designed in accordance with SANS 10400-P, or by a competent person as defined therein, to satisfy the requirements of Part P of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.
A septic tank may only be installed on premises with the prior permission of an authorised official, which will only be granted in the required circumstances.
If permission for a septic tank on premises is granted in areas where there is municipal waterborne sewerage, the following conditions apply:
the septic tank must
(i) satisfy the regulations set out in Part P of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act; and
(ii) be designed in accordance with SANS 10400-P, or by a competent person.
For a domestic application, the septic tank must have a minimum capacity of 7,000 litres and a minimum retention capacity for seven days; and for a non-residential application, the septic tank must have a minimum capacity sufficient to hold four days retention of the potential flow generated.
To minimise the risk of future problems, it’s highly recommended regularly have your septic tank cleaned and surveyed, which will help to dramatically decrease the risk of blockages and the need for future repairs.
You can read the full by-law here.