What to do when your neighbour’s septic tank causes contamination, Scotland

Septic tank contamination can pose serious health and environmental risks. In this blog, we’ll outline steps to effectively respond to such a situation while maintaining a peaceful approach with your neighbour.

A view of a septic tank under a house.

Assessing the contamination

Before taking any action, assess the extent of the contamination on your property. Look for signs of sewage backup, foul odours or water discolouration. Document the damage with photos or videos to have evidence for later stages.

Communicate with your neighbour

Open a respectful dialogue with your neighbour about the contamination issue. Avoid accusations and instead focus on sharing your concerns. They might not be aware of the problem, and a friendly conversation can lead to a quicker resolution. If you can pass on Septic Tank Services Ltd’s details to them, then we can assess the situation.

Contact your local council or environmental agencies

If you can’t speak to your neighbours or they are unwilling to do anything you can contact your local council. If you are situated within Argyll & Bute, you can visit the environmental section on their website, which includes septic tank information. The website states ‘when a septic tank or its soakaway fails it may be determined a statutory nuisance under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990’. Subsequently, a notice can be sent to the septic tank owner, prompting them to address the issue. You can also contact an environmental agency. In Scotland, it’s the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). So if a notice has been sent to the owner by a local council, SEPA may act if the surrounding watercourses are being affected. You can visit SEPA’s website for more information.

Dealing with smelly septic tanks

After resolving the issue, focus on preventing future contamination problems. Regularly maintain your septic system and encourage your neighbour to do the same. This includes having your septic tank emptied and inspected regularly. You can contact us here to arrange to have your septic tank emptied.