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

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—sewerage undertakers’ powers and duties to lay sewers and drains
  • Undertakers’ powers to lay pipes
  • Sewers in streets
  • Sewers laid in other lands
  • Notice of intended works
  • Powers of entry
  • Compensation
  • Advanced payment of compensation
  • Drainage systems relieving public sewers
  • The undertaker’s property in its pipes
  • More...

Undertakers’ powers to lay pipes

The powers of a sewerage undertaker to lay sewers, lateral drains and disposal mains are found in ss 158 and 159 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (WIA 1991). An undertaker will be able to exercise these powers both inside and outside of its area.

In the WIA 1991, references to a pipe, including references to a main, a drain or a sewer, shall include references to a tunnel or conduit which serves or is to serve as the pipe in question and to any accessories for the pipe. References to the laying of a pipe include references to the construction of such a tunnel or conduit, to the construction or installation of any such accessories and to the making of a connection between one pipe and another.

Where an undertaker intends to lay a pipe—other than a storm water overflow sewer—outside of its area, it must first notify the undertaker for the relevant area of its proposal. The works can only be done if with the consent of the other undertaker or, if it does not consent or fails to respond to the proposal within 28 days, with the consent of Ofwat.

Sewers in streets

Every sewerage undertaker has powers to lay sewers in, under or over any street and to keep them there.

A ‘street’ for these purposes will mean any length of

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