Compulsory adoption of private sewers and lateral drains

Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private Sewers) Regulations 2011

  • Adoption by Water and Sewerage Companies (“WaSCs”) of private sewers and lateral drains covered by Regulations
  • Main transfer on 1st October 2011 in relation to eligible sewers and lateral drains which immediately before 1st July 2011 communicated with a public sewer
  • Secondary transfer of eligible sewers and lateral drains which connected to public sewer before commencement of section 42 of Flood and Water Management Act (“section 42”) to be no later than six months after commencement of section 42.
  • From commencement of section 42 sewers and lateral drains connecting to public sewer will be automatically adopted
  • Regulations cover private sewers and lateral drains provided that not excluded;
  • Exclusion includes private drains within curtilage of building – DEFRA gives a wide meaning to this concept. In its eyes a single curtilage includes caravan sites, shopping malls and some larger commercial and industrial sites.
  • Repair and maintenance obligations for transferred sewers and drains shift from private owner to WaSCs
  • Pumping stations (including rising mains) are covered by the Regulations but did not transfer on 1st October 2011 or in secondary transfer. They must be transferred separately to WaSCs by 1st October 2016

This subject throws up some unexpected and interesting areas of law. The concept of curtilage plays a major role but involves research back to the textbooks of the fifteenth century. There are interesting legal issues as to what constitutes a single building

A resume of the regulations, the history of the Public Health Acts relevant to this area and the law as at October 2011 is set out in this paper.

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