Appeal against Severn Trent's proposal to adopt a private sewer

Case number

DP/211/00737

Summary of case

On 19 September 2011, we received an appeal under section 105B of the Water Industry Act 1991 (“the Act”), against a proposal by Severn Trent Water to adopt a private sewer which serves the Appellant’s property.

As part of her appeal, the Appellant raised several issues with regards to the sewer such as sewer flooding, and odour and related health issues from hydrogen sulphide associated with sewage. Given the seriousness of these issues, we put the appeal on hold in November 2014 whilst we investigated the problems associated with the sewer. We concluded our investigation into the sewer problems in December 2016.

On 1 October 2011, regulations introduced by the UK Government transferred the ownership of existing private sewers and lateral drains to regulated sewerage companies in England and Wales. In total, they took on responsibility for an estimated 224,500 km of private gravity sewers and lateral drains.

Before this transfer took place, we consulted on and published guidance for customers who wished to appeal the transfer of specific private sewers, lateral drains and pumping stations.

Summary of Ofwat’s process and final decision

On 23 March 2017, we issued our final appeal decision, concluding that the sewer should transfer to Severn Trent Water. In arriving at this decision, we considered whether transferring the sewer will result in serious detriment to the Appellant. We note that serious detriment is something that is forward looking, and therefore it does not take into account past problems which the Appellant had experienced as a result of the sewer. We also considered that the transfer will allow for better integrated management of the sewer system as a whole.

Relevant powers

Sections 105B Water Industry Act 1991

Date opened

March 2013

Date closed

23 March 2017

Key documents

Final determination

The private sewers transfer regulations

Enquiries

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Similar cases

Ofwat’s final decision in respect of an appeal made by Mr and Mrs J A Fell against United Utilities under section 105B of the Water Industry Act 1991

Ofwat’s final decision on an appeal made by Mr Cockette against Severn Trent Water under section 105B of the Water Industry Act 1991

Ofwat’s final decision in respect of an appeal made by WollenMichelmore solicitors of behalf of Ms Whatman against South West Water under section 105B of the Water Industry Act 1991