Private Drains and Sewers Transfer

On the 1 October 2011, a major change in the way drainage in England is managed took place. Most private sewers and also lateral drains (the part of a drain which goes from the property boundary to the public sewer) which have previously been the property of private individuals or landlords (including Your Homes Newcastle and other social landlords) and commercial property owners were adopted by the water and sewage companies, who then became responsible for all maintenance, including clearing blockages. Private drains within property boundaries were not adopted.

In Newcastle, the water and sewage company is Northumbrian Water. Northumbrian Water has powers of entry onto private property to maintain its drains and sewers, following service of a notice on the owners.

The object of the transfer is to ensure that no-one is responsible for drains or sewers which are shared or go beyond their property boundary. There are some exceptions to the transfer:

  • Private sewage treatment works, septic tanks and cess pools did not transfer.
  • Shared drains serving flats, including pairs of Tyneside flats or a block within a single boundary or curtilage remain the shared responsibility of the owners.
  • Surface water sewers which drain directly into a natural water course or soak away into the ground did not transfer.
  • Plumbing fixtures such as soil stacks, rainwater pipes and gullies are not covered by the transfer.

Further information can be obtained from Public Safety and Regulation, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civiv Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email: Telephone: 0191 2116102 or visit the Northumbrian Water website.

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Page last updated: 
15 November 2016
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