Transition of Private Sewers

Transfer of private sewers to Water and Sewerage Companies from 1st October 2011


A sewer is a drain that is shared between two or more properties. Normally this would carry foul water from your house, but in some areas this may be combined with rain water from your roof, or very occasionally carry roof water only. A lateral drain runs from the boundary to the sewer.

At present property owners are normally responsible for the ownership, upkeep and maintenance of privately owned sewers up to the point where they connect to the public sewer, usually (but not always) located in the road.

After the 1st October 2011 the government will be transferring the ownership of all sewage pipes outside property boundaries, and all sewers that are shared with another property into the ownership of water/sewage companies. In the Tendring District area this will be Anglian Water. The duty for the maintenance and repair of the adopted sewers will therefore transfer to Anglian Water. Privately owned pumping stations which meet the same criteria will not be adopted until after the 1st October 2016.

What are the implications for your building regulation application?

It is necessary to consult with Anglian Water for all new buildings or extensions that are to be built over, or near to a sewer. With many more miles of sewers being adopted it is expected that there will be an increase in the number of consultations being required. However, for smaller sewers it is expected that this procedure will be streamlined somewhat and that formal consent to build over or near to a public sewer will only be required in the following circumstances:

You are building over a manhole / access point on a private sewer pipe(s) that is shared with a neighbour.

You are building over more than 6m of a private sewer pipe(s) that is shared with a neighbour.

You are building over a private sewer pipe shared with your neighbour that is 150mm diameter or more.

You are building over a private sewer pipe shared with your neighbour that is 3m deep or more.

The foundation design allows loading on a private sewer pipe that is shared with your neighbour .

Please be aware that there is a duty to consult with Anglian Water for building works that are over or close to any sewer, regardless of size etc, where it is shown on the maps of sewers held by them.

Building notices cannot be used if the works involve the building over, or within 3m of a sewer shown on the relative map of public sewers. As shared drains become public sewers under the new legislation it will mean that there will be more instances where building notices cannot be used.

Please contact us if you are in any doubt as to the suitability of a building notice for your work.

Last updated on: 09/12/2015 - 11:18