Drainage Issues & Disputes
A drain is defined in law as the pipe- work which takes the effluent from a single property whether this is foul water (e.g., waste water from sinks, baths and toilets) or surface water, - water from gutters, gulley’s and rainwater drains. A sewer is defined in law as the pipe- work which takes the effluent from more than one property, therefore in law a “shared drain” is in fact a sewer.
Until 2011 responsibility for maintaining and unblocking sewers often rested with the owners of the properties served by the sewer (unless the property was built prior to 1st January 1937). Since the 1st October 2011 by virtue of the Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private Sewers) Regulations 2011, your local water company is now responsible for maintaining and unblocking sewers and those drains which are outside of your property boundary. Owners of properties are now only responsible for their drains up to the point of their boundary. If a shared drain (a sewer) crosses your boundary or your drain is outside of the property boundary then the water company is responsible.
Unfortunately, the maintenance and repair of private pumping stations remains the responsibility of those properties that are served by this, although these will become the responsibility of water companies from 1st October 2016. Cesspits and septic tanks and their pipe-work are not affected by these changes and therefore responsibility for the maintenance and repair rests with the owners of the properties served by these. Often disputes occur in relation to the upkeep, repair and emptying of cesspits and septic tanks which can cause friction amongst neighbours.As Public Health professionals we have considerable experience in dealing with such situations and can assist clients in resolving drainage problems through the following support services:
- Drainage Law advice
- Statutory Nuisance Assessments & Advice
- Site Assessments
- Liaison with Enforcement Authorities
- Expert Evidence Reports