The spreading of sewage sludge from both local authority treatment plants and septic tank systems must be carried out in accordance with relevant environmental and other applicable legislation, including the provisions of the Waste Management (Use of Sewage Sludge in Agriculture) Regulations 1998, as amended, and the European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2014.
In brief, those seeking to spread sewage sludge are required under legislation to:
- seek written acceptance for the suitability of spreadlands by submitting a Nutrient Management Plant to the Local Authority in whose area the sludge is to be recovered;
- satisfy themselves as to whether a Waste Licence, Permit or Certificate of Registration is also required for their proposed spreading activity and apply to the relevant authority where necessary;
- apply to the Local Authority in whose area the sludge is to be stored, as required under the Waste Management (Registration of Sewage Sludge Facility) Regulations 2010;
- supply the information required for the Sludge Register to the Local Authority, in a format and frequency required by the Local Authority;
- ensure that vehicles transporting waste hold a Waste Collection Permit as required under the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007, as amended; and
- investigate whether the activity of spreading, or the storage of sewage sludge requires planning permission.
In addition, Local Authorities require that the spreading of sewage sludge is subject to compliance with relevant codes of practice, e.g. Code of Good Practice for the Use of Biosolids in Agriculture.