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Private Sewer Transfer

Changes to private sewer ownership

Southern Water Services is responsible for some sewers that previously belonged to home owners.

Why is the transfer taking place?

Before 1 October 2011 home owners were responsible for the pipes that drain from their property into public sewers this can include pipes that go beyond the property boundary. Home owners are often unaware that they are responsible for these pipes until problems occur and they face a repair bill.

The Government has decided that some pipes called private sewers and lateral drains, would be better looked after if they formed part of the public sewer network which is the responsibility of sewage companies.

Will the move benefit homeowners?

Yes. As well as causing unexpected bills for homeowners, problems with private sewers also cause disputes between neighbours over responsibility. Homeowners will have the peace of mind that future problems with these pipes will be dealt with by their sewerage company.

Do I need to do anything?

No. The transfer of ownership took place automatically on 1 October 2011.

Are there any pipes that will not be transferred?

Pipes serving one property inside the property boundary will remain the responsibility of the homeowner as private drains. Blocks of flats are considered as a single property for this purpose. Privately owned septic tanks and cesspits and their connecting pipework, large multi-occupier commercial sites, and sewers that carry water directly to a water course will not transfer.

Private pumping stations will not be transferred immediately but will transfer by October 2016.

Will I need to pay any charges?

If a sewer is blocked than Southern water will arrange for it to be cleared. This will come at no extra cost as it will be incorporated within all customers sewage undertaker water bills.

Who to contact?

For more information and advice contact Southern Water.

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