Connecting your home to the right drains

Have you been told that your property’s drainage is connected to the wrong sewer? Do you suspect you might have a misconnected drain? And who is responsible for correcting a misconnection? Here’s everything you need to know about drain connections…

What type of drain does my house have?

Typically, your property will have two separate sewers. The foul sewer will remove dirty waste water from areas such as toilets, bathrooms, kitchens and utility spaces to a local sewage works to be treated.

The surface water sewer will take any rainwater – considered ‘clean’ water – away from the roof and outside drains. This will then be distributed back into the local rivers, streams or beaches.

In older properties, you might find that you have something known as a ‘combined drain’. This is where the foul water and surface water both go into the same drain, which is then taken to a waste-water treatment works facility. This typically applies to properties built pre-1970. If this applies to you, you won’t need to replace the single pipe with separate drains.

How do I know if my home has the right drainage connection?

There are a myriad of reasons for why your home may have a drainage misconnection. This could be due to the original builder or owner installing the wrong drain connections. It could be because you have renovated or extended your home, or because you or a plumber has installed a new appliance.

The Connectright website has created a helpful guide for you to check your drains are properly connected. Similarly, Nidirect  Government Services has created diagrams helping you to identify a drain misconnection and ensuring your home is connected to the correct drain system.

If you are unsure, it is best to seek out professional guidance. At Premier Drainage Solutions, we pride ourselves on providing expert advice to everyone who contacts us. Call us today on 01268 950050 or drop us an e-mail now on [email protected].

Why do I need to have the correct drain connection?

If the waste water pipes in your property are actually discharging into a surface water sewer that is only intended for rainwater, this will cause environmental pollution. This is what is termed a ‘misconnection’ and it is important that this is rectified.

As an example, an average washing machine can discharge up to 150 litres of dirty water each time it is used. This water contains detergents and other chemicals, which can cause serious injury to plants and wildlife if they were to enter rivers or streams. Similarly, kitchen sink waste water also contains food waste and detergents such as washing up liquid, bleach, cleaning products and soap.

Whose responsibility is it to connect my drains correctly?

As of October 2011, water companies took over the ownership of private sewers. Until the point that your drains from your property combine with drains from a neighbour’s property, you have responsibility of ensuring they are connected correctly and are functioning effectively. Once they go beyond this point, they become the responsibility of your water company. If the drainage problem is occurring in your home, then this will be a problem for either yourself or your landlord.

If you are the owner of the property, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct drain connection, even if the misconnection was caused by a previous owner. Unless you asked for a full drainage survey at the time of purchasing your home, it is unlikely that this problem will have been identified by any surveys taken out at the time. Unless you could convince the previous owner to take responsibility and rectify the issue, it will likely fall into your hands to fix.

If you are a tenant of a rented property, you will need to contact your landlord who is responsible for ensuring you have the correct drain connections required. Depending on the type of rental you have, you may need to speak with the local council, a private landlord or the housing association.

If you are unsure what type of drainage connection issues you are having, give us a call on 01268 950050 and we will provide you with free expert advice, as well as information on who your local water authority are.

Will I get in trouble if I don’t have the correct drain connections?

The short answer is yes – legal action can be taken. Ideally, authorities would rather work with property owners to help correct any misconnection problems voluntarily. However, if you don’t act on this, you will be served with a notice that requires you to correct your drainage connection. This route is more costly, especially if the authorities undertake the work on your behalf and then charge you for this.

Depending on the damage caused to the environment by your drain misconnection, you may also be required to face legal action; if sentenced by a Magistrate, you could be looking at fines up to £50,000, imprisonment up to 12 months, or both. In the most extreme cases, a Crown Court could give a person an unlimited fine, imprisonment up to 5 years, or both.

Connecting your home to the right drains

Need help with your drain connection? Here at Premier Drainage Solutions, we pride ourselves on our expertise in drainage, public sewer connections and waste water management. Public sewer works are a core aspect of our business; collectively we have over 40 years’ experience in laying main sewer pipes in trenches and tunnels.

We provide an efficient, effective service for our clients – from large construction companies to single dwelling developers – to support them in connecting their properties to the correct drains.

We believe in early contractor involvement. As such, we provide free expert advice on the best drain connection method, and the best time during the development to carry out your drainage connections.

Contact us today for expert advice

Call us on 01268 950050 or drop us an e-mail now on [email protected].

Do you need assistance?


Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Learn more

Find us

P4 Allen House Business Centre The Maltings, Station Road Sawbridgeworth Herts CM21 9JX

Google maps

Contact us

Discuss your project with a member of our head office team today.

Learn more

Contact us

Premier Drainage Solutions
P4 Allen House Business Centre
The Maltings, Station Road
Herts CM21 9JX

Request a call

Our charity

MSA Trust receives no government support and relies entirely on charitable donations to fund their support services as well as research into finding the cause and cure for multiple system atrophy (MSA).