Section 104 Water Industry Act 1991 Agreements—Sewer adoption agreements
Produced in partnership with Celina Colquhoun of 39 Essex Chambers
Section 104 Water Industry Act 1991 Agreements—Sewer adoption agreements

The following Planning practice note produced in partnership with Celina Colquhoun of 39 Essex Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Section 104 Water Industry Act 1991 Agreements—Sewer adoption agreements
  • Introduction
  • Procedure for the adoption of sewers
  • England
  • Wales
  • Format of adoption agreement—Code for Adoption Agreements
  • Charging rules
  • Variation or termination of adoption agreement
  • Enforcement of a section 104 agreement

Introduction

The adoption of sewers is the process by which sewers are vested in the sewerage undertaker or appointed sewerage company and subsequently maintained at the undertaker's expense.

A sewer adoption agreement (referred to in this Practice Note as a ‘section 104 agreement’) is an agreement that developers or, as referred to by Ofwat, ‘self-lay providers’ (or SLPs), enter into with the undertaker when the developer wants the undertaker to take over responsibility for sewerage infrastructure they have constructed so that it becomes a public sewer.

A sewer adoption agreement can also be entered where an agreement is in place under section 160 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (WIA 1991) such that the undertaker agrees to carry out work in connection with the construction sewerage in infrastructure at the relevant person’s expense.

The power for undertakers to enter into such agreement is contained in WIA 1991, s 104 (as amended by the Water Act 2014).

The adoption of new sewerage connections is currently approached differently in England and Wales.

Procedure for the adoption of sewers

England

Developers in England can provide their own sewerage infrastructure, but adoption is optional. Developers can choose whether to ‘request’ its local sewerage undertaker to adopt these (WIA 1991, s 104(2)).

In England, following a request to enter into an adoption agreement, in the event that the undertaker does not accede to the request, the developer can

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