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Making sure you're connected correctly

It’s really important the correct pipes are connected in and out of your property. If they’re not, you could face a hefty fine and cause pollution and environmental damage.

Connecting to the right drain

Most homes have two separate sewers. The foul sewer takes dirty water from your toilet, bathroom and kitchen for treatment at your local sewage works. The surface water sewer takes rainwater to a local river or stream.  

Why it matters

If your drains are connected to the wrong sewer they can cause environmental damage and pollution. This is illegal according to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

As the homeowner, it’s your responsibility to get any misconnection fixed or you could face a fine. There's lots of useful information about how to check your connections on the ConnectRight website.

We also work with the Environment Agency to identify rivers and streams that are being polluted by incorrectly connected pipework. This way we can contact homeowners and help them fix the problem.

How pipes can be misconnected

When you're fitting a new bathroom or installing a new kitchen it’s really easy to fit an appliance into the nearest pipe or drain available. Get it wrong though and you could soon be polluting your water. Washing machines are the biggest offenders (35%), closely followed by dishwashers (15%) and sinks (15%). So if you’re thinking of making any changes to your home and appliances, just contact our team and let us point you in the right direction before you start. This way you won't have to do any remedial work after you've finished.

Doing the right thing together

We’re proud to support the national ConnectRight campaign. Join us in helping to keep the UK’s rivers and beaches pollution-free by visiting the ConnectRight website today.

Misconnection FAQs

If we have found a misconnection, we’ll send you a letter to explain and that work is required to fix this.

Naturally, this depends on the fault identified during the drain survey. The misconnected appliances will be identified in a letter sent to you and you will need to arrange for a plumber to fix them. However, if you're still not sure, call us on the number provided in the letter we sent you for more help

The amount it will cost to fix does depend on the fault, so we aren't able to say the exact cost. The work could be as simple as switching pipes between drains, or it could require ground excavation which may be costly. We advise you to get in touch with at least two local plumbers or builders for a quote, as prices can vary between companies.

Legal action can be taken, but naturally we’d prefer you to understand the importance of the work and we're always happy to offer advice. Just contact the team for a chat and help if you need it.

We investigate when the Environment Agency or a member of the public report a polluted discharge to a river or stream. The pollution may have been happening occasionally over a long period of time, but hasn't been previously seen and reported. This is why it may be a shock to find that you have a misconnection at your home.  

If you have property or drainage insurance, contact them to see if this is covered by your policy. The sewer may need a CCTV inspection to confirm the fault. The costs should be shared between the owners of all properties that are connected to the sewer.

and the building inspector inspected the drainage. Why was the fault not found then?

The building inspector will inspect the drainage for build quality but may not have confirmed that the pipe work connects to the correct sewer pipe. This is why the misconnection wasn't spotted at this time.

If you’re the owner of the property any faults are your responsibility by law. Unfortunately, unless a full drainage survey was requested at the time of purchase any faults wouldn't have been identified.

You should speak to the council directly who will explain their complaints procedure. Please keep us informed of any progress.

If you rent your property you should immediately contact your landlord who may be the local council, housing association or private landlord. The Homeowner is responsible for any work that needs to be done to remedy the misconnection.

 

Unfortunately, we aren't able to undertake work on private drainage. Contact a local plumber to carry out the work needed.  

In most cases only blocked covers and defective sewers are covered by such policies. It's worth contacting your insurer to check as this may be covered by your poilicy.  

Get in touch now.

If your query is urgent call our 24-hour Customer Centre on 0800 783 4444.