Reducing your surface water drainage charges

Rebates for non-connection

If no surface water from your property enters a public sewer then you may qualify for a reduction in your sewerage charge (‘surface water drainage rebate’).

Companies do not know the surface water drainage arrangements of all the individual properties in its area. This means that you usually need to make an application for a rebate.

You should apply to your company providing evidence that none of your surface water enters the public sewer. Your company should explain the kind of evidence that it would need to see. They will check whether you qualify and if you do:

  • you will not be charged for surface water drainage on future bills
  • some of the amount you paid previously may be refunded

Sometimes your company does know, or might reasonably be expected to have known, that your property was not connected to its sewerage system for surface water drainage. In this case we would expect it to apply the rebate (and refund any money overpaid) from the date at which it knew (or might reasonably be expected to have known) the property was not connected.

Site area based charging

If any of your surface water drains into the public sewer system, you can only reduce your bill if you are charged by site area. You may be able to reduce your bill by checking that your water company has estimated your site area correctly, or by reducing the amount of surface water on your site that drains into the public sewers.

Checking that your water company’s estimate of the site area is correct

Contact your water company – you will find details of how to do this on your bill. Companies who charge surface water drainage by site area will have made an estimate of the site area, but this estimate may be incorrect.

If you believe there has been a miscalculation, you should contact your water company for a review. You may be in the wrong charging band, meaning your charges may be too high.

Checking that your water company’s estimate of chargeable site area is correct

Your water company may also have not taken account of site area where natural drainage occurs. You should only be charged for surface water drainage for areas which, directly or indirectly, drain into public sewers.

Therefore, areas that drain naturally, such as sports fields, should not be included in the chargeable site area. Again, if you believe that such areas have not been taken into consideration, you should contact your water company for a review. This could result in significant savings.

Take action to reduce charges

You can also take action to reduce your charges by reducing the amount of surface water on your site that drains into the public sewers. Some of the ways of doing this include:

  • Installing a soakaway. A soakaway is man-made hole in the ground. It collects water and allows it to disperse and drain away naturally. It costs in the region of £650 to put in a small (1m3) soakaway.
  • Changing impermeable areas to permeable ones. Natural drainage can be promoted by converting areas which do not allow water to soak through, such as an asphalt car park, to ones which do.

For information about surface water drainage charges, please get in touch with your water company. If you have any further queries, please contact theConsumer Council for Water.