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Diverting or closing a public sewer

Developers with an interest in land that contains a public sewer can request the diversion of the sewer to allow development work to progress, in accordance with section 185 of the Water Industry Act 1991. Often you can do the diversion work yourself, but sometimes we’ll need to - for example, if it’s a strategic sewer that’s being diverted. Charges will apply in all cases. If you need a diversion you should apply using the button below, and we’ll advise you on the next steps.

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

The application process

Once you have submitted your application, we’ll carry out a technical review to determine if the sewer is strategic in nature. If it’s not, you may be able to do the work involved in which case:

  • We'll reply within 14 days and let you know if we need more information. When we have everything, we'll send you our technical decision within 28 days.
  • If the work is approved, you'll need to sign the legal agreements that need to be in place before work on the sewer(s) can start.
  • You notify us when the diversion is due to take place.
  • Our field engineer periodically inspects the works and lets you know any corrective actions required.
  • When you’ve finished, you provide as-built drawings and CCTV surveys so that we can update our records and ensure construction has been carried out satisfactorily. We let you know if any corrective works are needed.
  • Once any remedial work has been completed, we issue a provisional vesting certificate.
  • After a one-year maintenance period and our final inspection, we issue a final vesting certificate and assume responsibility for the sewer(s).

If it’s a strategic sewer, we’ll generally do the work. In this case:

  • An engineer contacts you within 5 days of application to discuss your application and request further information if necessary.
  • Our engineer undertakes a preliminary investigation to identify a diversion proposal. They’ll discuss the proposal's impact on the catchment with our network operations and asset planning departments.
  • If there are no objections, within 5 weeks of the proposal we prepare a budget estimate and indicative programme. If circumstances allow, we discuss you doing the work under a section 185 agreement.

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.

To apply download our form:

Need to pay us?

If you've already applied, you can make a payment.