Transfer to Public Ownership - Drains & Sewers

As from 1st October this year the responsibility for maintenance of certain private sewers and drains will transfer to water and waste water companies.

Those sections of sewers and pipes shared with neighbouring properties but lying within private boundaries and private pipes outside of the property boundary which connect with the mains network, will change ownership and responsibility from 1st October 2011.

This change applies to both residential and commercial properties.

In principal most land owners will welcome this development but those involved with multiple let sites or developments which may already have in place complex provisions relating to sewage and drainage will be concerned that those arrangements could be superseded by this new statutory regime.

Notices of transfer are being sent to individual land owners and in addition advertised locally (because of the problems identifying the owners of sewers and drains). An objection to transfer can be made by an individual land owner on the basis that it would be seriously detrimental to the person affected, for example if the current drainage arrangements allow a sewer to be relocated on redevelopment, then there would be a detriment if adoption of the sewer results in the relocation right being lost.

Land owners will have a period of two months within service or publication of the notice (whichever is later) to appeal against the transfer to the Water Services Regulation Authority (OFWAT).

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.