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Sewage: Energy

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 48W, on sewage: energy, if she will make it her policy to make urine separation systems mandatory in all new developments where discrete sewerage infrastructure is possible. (195241)

The Government do not currently propose to make the use of urine separation systems mandatory in all new developments where discrete sewerage infrastructure is possible.

Part H (drainage and waste disposal) of the Building Regulations currently requires an adequate system of drainage to be provided to carry foul water from appliances within the building to a suitable sewer, septic tank, waste water treatment system or cesspool.

This means that where mains drainage cannot be provided and an applicant wishes to use an appliance such as a composting toilet there may be benefits in using urine separation as this can improve overall efficiency. However, there is a risk that urine separation and the subsequent discharge of a mixture of urine and water from washing appliances to the ground may cause pollution and damage water resources. People who plan to use urine separation and subsequently discharge direct to ground should undertake a robust site investigation and consult the appropriate authorities such as Building Control or the Environment Agency before finalising plans.

Guidance of the provision of toilets is contained in the Approved Document G (Hygiene) of the Building Regulations. This guidance is under review and we expect to consult on the proposals shortly. It will include improved guidance on the location and use of composting toilets.