ENVIRONMENT Agency Wales are reminding people in Wales to register their septic tanks or small package treatment plants as soon as possible.

The original deadline for registering septic tanks was on December 31, 2011 but this has been extended by six months to allow the agency to send letters and registration forms to over 70,000 people, who are believed to have septic tanks to make the registration process as simple as possible.

The agency is encouraging people to register as soon as possible even though the deadline is now June 30. The registration is part of the environmental permitting regulations for both England and Wales, which was introduced in 2010.

The agency claim there is strong evidence that poorly maintained septic tanks are contributing to poor water quality in rivers, lakes and coastal waters and there is also a danger that pollution from septic tanks could contaminate private water supplies from wells, boreholes and springs.

But knowing the location of septic tanks will help agency officers check for any poorly maintained septic tanks that could be the cause of pollution in the area.

People can also register their tanks online at environment-agency.gov.uk/sewagedischarge or, if people do not receive a letter and they have a septic tank, they can request a form by calling 03708 506506.

The delayed deadline is in response to some concerns raised last year by the Abergavenny Chronicle and members of the public.

The agency has now clarified the situation and that anyone who is unaware of the requirement will always be given the opportunity to register or obtain a permit.

The spokesman added that if people do not take this opportunity to register their septic tank that enforcement action would be considered, but the agency's first priority would be to get them registered.

In Wales, for the majority of people, registration is a simple process, free of charge and a one off requirement. Single properties with up to nine occupants should be able to register for free. However, in some cases where a household has a larger septic tank or where a septic tank discharges within a sensitive area a permit will be required.

This is specified by the environmental regulations and there may be a one off £125 charge.

Chris Mills, Director Environment Agency Wales, said: "We are alerting people now to give them the time they need to complete the forms they will receive shortly. Alternatively they can register through our website.

"The majority of people will only need to fill in and return the form we send them to be registered. Following that, all we want is for people to maintain their septic tanks to a good standard to avoid any unintentional pollution.

"I have a septic tank myself and have registered it.

"It was relatively straightforward, but if anyone has difficulties or a query about this process they should call our contact centre for help."