New buildings require an official connection to the public sewer. This comes under section 106 of the 1991 Water Industry Act. The owner of a domestic property has the right to connect to the public sewerage system, but must first apply formally.
The reason for this is that the whole process of dealing with sewerage is complex, and unauthorised public sewer connections have the potential to do damage to the drainage network.
Property developers should therefore take account of this as part of any project they are undertaking.
Knowing the Drainage Layout
Anyone intending to build close to or over an existing public sewer must first notify the utilities provider responsible for the local sewerage network.
They must provide written agreement before work can commence.
This is because building over and existing sewer or drain can damage pipework. This damage may then cause leakages or blocked pipes, leading to disruption to the system, the nuisance of foul odours, and possible environmental damage.
If a developer builds over an existing sewer this can also cause problems when it comes to clearing any blockages or repair work of faulty or damaged drains, adding to the time and expense involved.
Submitting plans, means that, if necessary, there can be modifications made to the drainage network and movement of drains to accommodate the development.
Once this is clear, there is then the issue of a public sewer connection. Generally, the sewer or drain needs to be at least 0.8 metres below the ground level of the building.
The Process of Public Sewer Connections
First the developer or property owner must submit an application for a public sewer connection to the local utilities provider. This normally involves submitting a fee alongside the application, and charges may vary, depending on the nature of the connection.
If the building is covered by a planning application, the local authority must first approve this before the connection can take place.
Once approval is received, the developer must arrange for a contractor to do the work. The utilities provider will monitor the connection as it is undertaken.
There are two grounds on which the authority can refuse a public sewer connection application
These are: if a private drain or sewer is of a substandard condition; and if a connection would be likely to damage or hinder the existing public sewer.
Therefore, to avoid needless expense and a drawn-out process, it’s vital that developers have full knowledge of the public sewer network, and use a professional contractor to undertake the connection work.
Once the work is complete, the authority will inspect and approve it, and issue the relevant certification.
If you need a public sewer connection talk to Drainage Consultants. We’re hugely experienced in all aspects of drainage.