Is it possible to install a sewage treatment system without having a lot of land to work with?

Even without land, a property must by law be able to treat its wastewater before discharging it into the environment.

All wastewater coming from a residence must be treated, according to UK wastewater treatment laws. Furthermore, once the new septic tank regulations come into force in January 2020, you will no longer be able to discharge your treated wastewater from a septic tank to a watercourse as it will be mandatory to use a draining field or some form of a soakaway system. However, this method of wastewater treatment takes up a considerable amount of ground.

Today, we will look at sewage treatment plants with small ground usage.


What Sewage Treatment Plants with Small Ground Usage are there?

To start, let’s take two separate scenarios:

  • A house with a small plot of land (a few square metres of garden, for example)
  • A house with no land

House with a Small Plot of Land

If you have even a small plot of land, you should turn to compact wastewater treatment systems.

The problem with traditional systems is that they often take up a lot of space. To solve this problem, manufacturers have developed compact products in recent years. In short, there are two types of compact products:

  • The domestic sewage treatment plant
  • The compact filter

For houses with even small ground, both systems can be installed.

House with No Land

If your property does not have even a single blade of grass and you are not connected to the sewer system, you must still install a wastewater treatment system!

As you have no land at all, it is possible to use an above-ground installation, in a garage or cellar. It takes up space and is not necessarily very aesthetic, but it is the only solution.

Only one device is suitable for this particular case: the domestic sewage treatment plant.

The Domestic Sewage Treatment Plant

A domestic sewage treatment plant is the individual counterpart of collective treatment plants. It works on the same principle: bacteria treating wastewater.

A domestic sewage treatment plant is an all-in-one device, which makes it very compact: a single “block” takes care of the pre-treatment, treatment and discharge of your wastewater at the same time.

Its ground area is very small, especially for small capacities: less than 10 square metres is expected for 6 people use models.

By way of comparison, a traditional system (septic tank + draining field) takes at least 50 m² on the ground and can go to more than 150 m²!

The main advantage of the domestic sewage treatment plant, in our case, is the possibility of installing it above ground.

The disadvantage of the domestic sewage treatment plant is that it requires electricity to run.

The Compact Filter

A compact filter is a device composed of a septic tank and a gravel pack.

It is more suitable for houses with reduced land, as it requires a little more space than a domestic sewage treatment plant and cannot be installed above ground.

It does not need electricity to operate and is better suited than a domestic sewage treatment plant for use in second homes: it can handle fluctuating uses.


The choice of sanitation devices is of course limited when approaching houses without land, or with small ground space.

However, solutions are available. The most universal is the domestic sewage treatment plant, because of its ease of installation and compactness. However, owners who do not want an electricity consuming device can install a compact filter, as long as space is available.

We can never insist enough: the fact that there is no space is no excuse for not installing a sanitation system! The environment requires us to treat our wastewater!