In Southampton, like many other regions in the UK, residents and businesses are subject to strict legislation regarding the maintenance of sewage and water infrastructure. Blocked drains can cause serious damage to your property, the environment, and can even lead to hefty fines if not properly handled in accordance with local and national regulations. This article will provide you with a general overview of key drainage laws in Southampton and what you need to know if your drains are blocked.
Responsibilities and Legislation
Under the Environmental Protection Act, it is against the law to allow any drain or sewer to become obstructed or polluted. Failure to maintain proper sceptic systems and drainage can potentially lead to enforcement action or a pollution offence, which can result in substantial fines.
One key piece of legislation that you should be aware of is the Water Industry Act, which sets out clear guidelines on who is responsible for private and public sewers. The general rule is that homeowners are responsible for the drains within their property boundaries until they connect with the public sewer, which is looked after by the local water and sewage blocked drains southampton company.
For Southampton, the responsible water and sewage firm is Southern Water. In 2011, new legislation was introduced transferring the responsibility of private sewers and lateral drains, which are shared by several properties and connect to the public sewerage network, to regulated water companies. As a result, Southern Water is now responsible for the repair and maintenance of these sewers, and any blockages that occur in these are their responsibility to clear.
What If Your Drains Are Blocked?
If you find that your drains are blocked, you must resolve the issue as promptly as possible. If the blockage is within the pipework of your property, it is usually your own responsibility to clear it.
In most cases, solving the issue could be as simple as using a drain rod or plunger. However, if the blockage is serious or located deeper in the system, you may need professional help. In such situations, it’s crucial to hire a reputable drainage contractor who is fully compliant with local regulations.
If you are not responsible for the blocked drain – for instance, if the blockage is situated in shared pipes outside your property boundary or in the public sewer system – you should report it to Southern Water. The company provides a 24-hour emergency helpline and should send out a team to investigate and rectify the issue.
However, note that if you have an overflowing or blocked private pump, even if it serves multiple properties, it remains the responsibility of the property owner to fix.
Preventing Drainage Issues
One of the best ways to avoid having to deal with blocked drains is to prevent the problem from arising in the first place. An essential practice is to avoid disposing of fat or oil down the sink and to be mindful of what you flush down the toilet. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your drains can also help prevent blockages from forming.
Also, if you are planning any building work or alterations that might affect your drainage system, you will need to seek approval from Southern Water before you begin. Altering a drainage system without consent can have legal challenges.
In conclusion, understanding the drainage laws in Southampton is crucial for both residential and commercial property owners. It can help in following correct procedures when dealing with blocked or damaged drains, thus protecting you from unnecessary legal trouble. Always remember the obligations you have towards your property’s drainage system, and when in doubt, consult with a drainage professional or contact Southern Water.