Do you share a private sewage pumping station, taking waste from your home to a main sewer? If yes, here are some important changes you need to know about, says Martin Moore, a member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) at our Shrewsbury office.
Here Martin explains the situation about the transfer of private pumping stations to utility companies.
“On October 1, 2011 all sewers outside your property boundaries and any sewers shared with another property within or outside your boundaries were transferred to water and sewerage companies, around Shrewsbury this is Severn Trent Water and for most of Wales, Dwr Cymru.
“From October 2016 the Water and Sewerage Companies (WaSCs) are set to take over ownership of private sewage pumping stations, this applies to many smaller rural and urban housing developments that ultimately connect to mains drains.
“Pumping stations which are eligible for adoption will transfer on 1 October 2016. For now the WaSCS are trying to find out where the stations are and what condition they are in, and to manage legal matters such as land and access, prior to the transfer.
“Until the official transfer, property owners served by a sewage pumping station are responsible for the network of pipes, and the pumping station and rising/pumping main to the point where it connects to the public sewer. And owners will remain responsible for the pumping station until such time as it is adopted, even though the pipework may already have transferred.
“Privately owned pumping stations (and rising mains), built before the previous transfer of pipes in 2011, which serve more than one property and pump to the existing public sewer are eligible for transfer.
“Pumping stations which serve a single property but sit outside the curtilage of the property will also transfer in October 2016. In most cases the curtilage will correspond with the property boundary.
“Just as pipes inside the property boundary and serving only that property remained the responsibility of the property owner, so private pumping stations serving just one property and within the boundary of a property will not transfer under the legislation.
“At the time of the private sewer and drains transfer in 2011, DEFRA estimated that there were around 33,000 private pumping stations operating around the UK.
“If you part-own, or are partly responsible for a private sewage pumping station, you should make sure that your WaSC (locally Severn Trent Water or Dwy Cymru) knows about its existence.
“The company will then probably arrange for a survey to be carried out and give you a date for the transfer.
“For an idea of how the various water companies are working towards the pumping station transfer, it’s worth checking your own WaSC’s website (stwater.co.uk / dwrcymru.com).
“Many are already working towards the 2016 deadline and you will find information about how they plan to proceed. In theory, the companies will take over the pumping stations they know about within the timescales. Any they do not know about, which are eligible, will automatically transfer on 1 October 2016, whether the paperwork is done or not.”
If you believe that the transfer would be seriously detrimental to your interests, you have two months from the date of the legal notice you receive to appeal against it, via Ofwat (ofwat.gov.uk).