What to do if you have been refused a registration for a septic tank or private sewage treatment system

If your home or property has a septic tank or package sewage treatment plant, it is a legal requirement to register it. For most, this is a free registration. In certain circumstances however your private sewage system may require further permission.

If you have received notification from Natural Resources Wales that you are not eligible for a free registration, you will need to apply for an environmental permit.

What to do next

If you have been refused a registration for your sewage system, you will need to apply for a bespoke permit to discharge treated domestic sewage effluent.

Most people are eligible for a free registration.

If you have registered using the link above and we have contacted you to tell you that you will need a full permit, please complete the form for an 'Environmental Permit: Discharging treated domestic sewage effluent of up to 15 cubic metres a day into ground or up to 20 cubic metres a day onto surface water'.

You should only do this if you have been refused a free registration.


Download guidance on completing the application

Email your completed forms to:


or post to:

Permit Receipt Centre
Natural Resources Wales
29 Newport Road
Cambria House
CF24 0TP

Why has my registration been refused?

Your septic tank or package sewage treatment plant registration will have been refused for one of the following reasons:

  • your sewage system is near a protected or designated area, such as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or Source Protection Zone
  • your property has more than 13 people living there and the septic tank discharges to a soakaway in the ground
  • your property has more than 33 people living there and your package sewage treatment plant discharges to a watercourse
  • your sewage discharge is 50 metres or less from a borehole or well
  • your property is within 30 metres of the public foul sewer

Most septic tanks or package sewage treatment plants do not cause problems when they are well maintained. Discharge from poorly maintained systems can pollute rivers, streams and underground water or harm nature conservation sites. To ensure sewage systems near sensitive areas are operating efficiently, Natural Resources Wales attach certain conditions to their use, through an Environmental Permit.

Read more about maintaining your sewage system.

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