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Adopting a sewer

Adopting sewers and other assets

Code for Adoptions

Code for Adoptions were introduced on 1 April 2020, which means that all new section 104 applications need to be compliant with the Design and Construction Guide published by Water UK, under the new code.

We are mindful that designs had already been completed before April 2020, therefore we had a six month transition period whereby we have accepted SFA design standards between 1 April through to the 1 October. From 1 October 2020, please note that we will only be able to accept design standards as specified under Code for Adoptions.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please contact the Sewer Adoptions team, or your assigned Customer Relationship Manager.

Adopting sewers, pumping stations and sewage treatment works

If you’re constructing sewers or pumping stations as part of a new development, you can ask us to adopt the new network under Section 104 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

You’ll be responsible for all construction and maintenance costs until we adopt the sewer or pumping station.

Please follow the national guidelines, levels of service and construction standards in Ofwat’s Code for Adoption.

The new Code for Adoption recommends that you don’t start constructing any new assets you’d like us to adopt until all parties have signed the legal Section 104 agreement.

If you need help understanding our process and technical requirements, please check out our step-by-step guides:

To apply download our form

Adopting an existing sewer or pumping station under Section 102

If you own an existing private sewer or pumping station that’s been operating for at least 12 months, you can ask us to adopt it under Section 102 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

We’ll need to make sure the design, layout and construction quality comply with Ofwat’s Code for Adoptions as well as our own special requirements.

After inspecting your site, we’ll let you know if you need to carry out any remedial works to bring the private sewers up to an adoptable standard. You’ll have to fund these works yourself.

We’ll also need to give two months’ notice to all parties who use or have an interest in the existing assets.

To apply download our form

Read more about how we’ll use the information you provide in your application.

Adopting sewage treatment works

All sewage treatment works must our follow strict design, environmental and legal requirements as well as those set by the Environment Agency. This can make the adoption of sewage treatment works a long and costly process. We recommend you visit us to chat through your plans before you apply.

Closing a public sewer

Under Section 116 of the Water Industry Act 1991, we’re able to restrict the use or close (abandon) existing public sewers at our discretion. If you’re planning a brownfield development site, you can ask us to do this to avoid costly and unnecessary diversions or build-overs, assuming that nobody else is being serviced by that sewer.