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Severn Trent Public Sewers

Important Changes to Legislation - Public Sewers

This note contains information regarding building over or within and three meters of a public sewer, what a public sewer is and how to find out they are positioned.

Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains by Water Authorities

The Government has approved legislation The Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private Sewers) Regulations 2011 that from the 1 October 2011, transfers the ownership of all privately owned shared drains to the relevant Water Authority, which from then on will become ‘public sewers.’  The relevant Water Authority for the Borough of Walsall is Severn Trent Water Limited

The private sewers and lateral drains legislation does not amend the drainage requirements within the Building Regulations.

For further information on the transfer of your drains to the Water Authority and any impact this may have on proposals to extend your property, please contact either: Severn Trent Water Limited on 01902 793871 or visit their web site www.stwater.co.uk.

Public and Private Sewers/Drains

There are different names for the pipes commonly used to discharge foul and storm water from buildings, namely:-

  1. Private drain – a drain serving a single premises,
  2. Private sewer – a drain serving two or more premises, or
  3. Public sewer – a drain serving two or more premises owned or adopted by the sewerage undertaker (Severn Trent water Limited).

The vast majority of private drains and sewers in the normal circumstance will discharge into a public, in certain circumstances what might initially appear to be a private sewer may in fact be a public sewer.  A public sewer is a sewer which is vested in a sewerage undertaker, within the Borough of Walsall, this is Severn Trent Water Limited.  The majority  of public sewers run under public roads, however in some instances they can be found to cross private land.  If the sewer to your property was built before October 1937 then it is also considered to be a public sewer under the provisions of Section 24, of the public Health Act 1936.  If you think the sewer serving your home might be a Section 24 or adopted public sewer then you should clarify the matter with Severn Trent Water Limited who will be able to supply you with a definitive answer.

The Requirement

When building over or within 3 metres of a public sewer the Approved Document to Regulation H4 (building over sewers) of Building Regulations 2010 makes it clear that:-

  • You must consult with the sewerage undertaker,
  • Adequate provision is to be made to prevent any undue risk to the building in the event of a failure of a drainage or sewer,
  • Access to the drain or sewer must be maintained externally to any building or extension  at all times,
  • The drain or sewers must be adequately protected during construction, and
  • Adequate provision is to be made for the protection of a drain or sewer from any settlement.

Building Regulations Submission

Making a Building Regulation submission where building over or within 3 metres of a public sewer will require a Full Plans Submission under the regulations; a building notice cannot be accepted in these circumstances.

As part of the process Building Control will establish from Severn Trent Water limited that you have obtained their consent and agreement to the works, to be able to issue an approval under the building regulations

How to see if your proposal is affected by a Public Sewer

Information on the siting of the public sewers can be obtained from Severn Trent water’s record management centre by telephoning on 01902 793871. If a public sewer could be affected by proposed building works, it is advisable to obtain consent from Severn Trent Water before making a building regulation application.  This will avoid delay in the full plans approval process.  Further advice and an application form can be obtained from www.stwater.co.uk.

Contact us

Building Control
Civic Centre
Darwall Street

Email buildingcontrol@walsall.gov.uk
Telephone (01922) 652600
Out of office hours emergency contact (019226) 50000
Textphone 0845 111 2910

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At the First Stop Shop www.walsall.gov.uk/first_stop_shop.htm

Office opening times

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8.45am – 5.15pm
Friday: 8.45am - 4.45pm


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This page was last updated on 03 August 2016