Intentions of the Government

The Government is proposing to use its powers under the Water Industry Act 1991, as amended by the Water Act 2003, to transfer private sewers and lateral drains connected to the public sewerage system into the ownership of the statutory water and sewerage companies. This proposed transfer will lead to a huge change in responsibility for sewerage services and will affect thousands of private sewers and private lateral drains that connect to the public system.

The planned proposals were to come into force on 1 April 2011 but under revised draft regulations laid before Parliament on 26 April 2011 this has now been changed to 1 July 2011. The proposed vesting of the private sewers and drains remains scheduled to take place on 1 October 2011. This will include sewers and lateral drains draining both residential and commercial premises. Some 33,000 pumping stations necessary to link those sewers and lateral drains will also be transferred to the ownership of the statutory water and sewerage companies (the Government's intention is that the transfer of such pumping stations will occur progressively until 1 October 2016). Sewers and drains leading to cesspits or watercourses will not be included. In addition, sewers and drains owned by railway operators will be exempt. The revised draft regulations now make it clear that private sewers and drains under Crown land will be included in the October transfer unless the Crown 'opts out' by notifying the water companies that they want particular sewers and drains to be exempt from the transfer.

To read more about the changes and what you should do in preparation, please click here.