Sewers and drains—sewerage undertakers’ core duties and powers
Produced in partnership with John Bates of Old Square Chambers
Sewers and drains—sewerage undertakers’ core duties and powers

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with John Bates of Old Square Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sewers and drains—sewerage undertakers’ core duties and powers
  • The Water Act 2014—choice of sewerage supplier
  • Undertakers’ core duties
  • Public sewers and lateral drains
  • Transfer of private sewers, drains and pumping stations
  • Adoption of private sewers and lateral drains
  • Standards of performance
  • Sewer maps

A sewerage undertaker is the company appointed by the Secretary of State or Ofwat to be the sewerage undertaker for the area specified in its instrument of appointment under s 11(1) of the Water Act 1989 and continued in s 6(1) of the Water Industry Act 1991 (WIA 1991).

The appointed undertaker may exercise its functions in the area shown on the Sewerage Services Area Map attached to the instrument of appointment.

Any question as to the extent of an undertaker’s area will be determined by Ofwat, as set out in Condition A7 of the Instrument of Appointment.

Within its area the undertaker will provide sewerage services in accordance with its duty under s 94 of the WIA 1991.

'Sewerage services' includes the disposal of sewage and any other services which are required to be provided by a sewerage undertaker for the purpose of carrying out its functions.

The Water Act 2014—choice of sewerage supplier

The Water Act 2014, s 4 and Schedules 3 and 4, introduce a sewerage licensing scheme in England. Section 5 and Sch 5 introduce a similar scheme in Wales. These provisions entered into force in England in April 2017.

The aim of the legislation is to allow all business, charity and public sector customers to choose their sewerage supplier for the first time and to enable multi-site operators to