Sewers and drains—maintenance and protection of sewers
Produced in partnership with John Bates of Old Square Chambers
Last updated on 16/10/2019

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

  • Sewers and drains—maintenance and protection of sewers
  • Maintenance
  • Maintenance of street works
  • Protection of sewers
  • Building over sewers
  • Works in highways

Sewers and drains—maintenance and protection of sewers

Maintenance

Every sewerage undertaker has a duty to ensure that its sewers and lateral drains are cleaned and maintained so that its area is, and continues to be, effectually drained.

The Environment Act 2021, s. 79, in force from force from such day as the Secretary of State may by regulations appoint, places a duty on sewerage undertakers to prepare, publish and maintain a drainage and sewerage management plan. A ‘drainage and sewerage management plan’ is a plan for how the sewerage undertaker will manage and develop its drainage system and sewerage system so as to be able, and continue to be able, to meet its obligations under WIA 1991, Part IV. For more information see Practice Note: Sewers and drains—sewerage undertakers’ core duties and powers.

‘Cleaning’ a sewer means the removal of all obstructions and matter in it, while ‘maintain’ means keeping it in a proper state of repair but does not require the undertaker to improve or reconstruct it.

An undertaker’s duty to maintain its sewers and lateral drains is enforceable under s 18 of the Water Industry Act 1991 by the Secretary of State or, with their consent, Ofwat.

A sewerage undertaker has power to inspect, maintain, adjust, repair and alter any sewer, lateral drain or disposal main belonging to or vested in it that is in, under, or over any street.

It

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Key definition:
Maintenance definition
What does Maintenance mean?

Payments made to a spouse or civil partner or a former spouse or civil partner for themselves or for a child of the family.

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