National change in ownership of drains

HOUSEHOLDERS, businesses and landlords across Northumberland are receiving letters about a change of ownership of drains and sewers.

The national change, introduced by the Government and which comes into effect on Saturday, October, 1, will see many pipes that were formerly private responsibility switch to Northumbrian Water.

Householders or landlords will still remain responsible for private drains serving their property within its boundary, as well as gutters and downpipes.

The pipes that will transfer from private to water company ownership are those outside the boundary or those within the boundary which are shared by other properties and that connect into the existing water company public sewer often located in the roadway.

Currently, Northumbrian Water is responsible for about 16,000km of sewers and it estimates that with the transfer that will rise to almost 30,000km. Customers do not need to take any action or contact the company as letters containing details about the change are being sent out throughout July.

Mike Madine, Northumbrian Water’s Sewerage Manager, said: “Implementing this change is a huge job for the water company and good news for customers. Many more pipes will become our responsibility giving householders, businesses and landlords less to worry about.

“Overall the drainage system will be better integrated and investment can be targeted where it is needed. It will be a fairer system with maintenance and repair costs being shared across all customers.”

Northumbrian Water does not expect customers to see any impact on their bills for at least three years and the government estimates that the cost will eventually be between 6p to 27p a week. The company will deal with all contacts from customers once the change is implemented and is about to appoint approved and highly experienced contractors to carry out any required work in the field on its behalf.

Further details, including additional information, illustrations, frequently asked questions, an explanatory video and advice about looking after private drains can be found by logging onto