Foul drain connected to Surface Water drain

4 Mar 2008
Reaction score
United Kingdom
I am looking for some advice, United Utilities have sent surveyors (contracted out to Mouchel) round to check for pollution of drains. They came and put dye in sinks/toilets etc and say that our shared foul drain, is connected to the surface water main drain instead of the foul main drain.
They say we are responsible for cost and completion of the corrective work to make the drains correct. House was built in 1970 we are a semi, and share with next door, but drain runs down side of our house and its in the road where the drains are incorrectly connected. All the other houses in the close are connected correctly.
Are we liable, can we fight this, we bought house 3 years ago, elderly neighbour been here for 30 years, big surprise to her, she was physically shaking when we went round to discuss it. Letter is very alarming, and when you call Mouchel they just say cannot help speak to UU. Copy of surveyor plan attached for info.
Any help or advice greatly appreciated.

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Unfortunate as your situation may be, this forum is for technical not legal advice. Someone might answer more positively but you could take this up first with whoever takes your money for sewerage services.
Assuming things work broadly the same in England as in Northern Ireland, the drainag authority at the time will have adopted the drainage system after the houses were connected. If this was the case, they would have adopted the system with the fault in place....which obviously wasnt spotted.

Many of these faults arise from work done after construction and responsibility for those lies firmly with the householder. Going by what you say and the fault is under the road, its a bit mean of UU to expect you to do the work.
I thought drains and water supply were the householders problem from the property boundary towards the house, anything from the boundary to the services is the problem of whomsoever supplies that service. If they are saying the pipery is misconnected in the street then i would suggest thats the problem for the people who take money for your sewerage. If its misconnected at the house end then its your problem. Where does the rainwater pipe run off terminate, is it directed to a local watercourse? If it ultimately ends up with the dirty water from the property and everyone elses dirty water i can't see what the problem is. Have a chat with CAB or a solicitor who does the free 30 mins consultation.
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There was an article in the IOP mag recenyly on yhis very subject eg drains in correctly connected ! it would seem that this problem is wide spread , off the top of my head I beleive that it is estimated that nationally (England ) enogh water to fill 6 olympic size swimming pools is being dumped per day down the wrong drains !
As far as I can remember ( I have not got the article here ) the problem is the house holders !
these drain check's are & will become more common ! I will try & dig out the article later today ?

I'm interested in knowing the outcome of this as the exact same thing has happened to me - 7 properties affected in Cheshire !!!
AFAIK it is the responsibility of the properties concerned to fund the cost of sorting out cross connections. At least if there's 7 properties on the run the bill should be split 7 ways.

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