Water and wastewater services for Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Preventing pollution of rivers and streams

Some pollution is caused by bad plumbing. The dirty water from your home could be draining straight into your local river or stream.

This could be your washing machine or even your toilet! This can happen during work to extend or improve a house, when a new house is built or simply when a new appliance is plumbed in. 

How does this happen?

In most houses built after 1920 wastewater drains into separate sewer systems (foul sewers and surface water sewers). This means that clean rainwater goes to a surface water sewer which drains straight into local rivers and streams.

Dirty water from sinks, baths, showers, appliances and the toilet should go to the foul sewer which will then be treated by us to ensure it is safe before some of it is returned to the environment. 

If any of these pipes are connected to the surface water system, your dirty water is polluting local watercourses and in the same way, if gutters and gullies are wrongly connected to the foul water sewer, surface water can overwhelm the foul water system and cause flooding to homes and the local area.

Who is responsible?

The property owner must fix any misconnections – it is often simple and cheap to sort out the problem. 

What can I do?

We are working together with the Environment Agency to reduce water pollution in your local rivers and streams. We want you to help by checking that your plumbing is connected properly.

You need to check you have the right connections – visit www.connectright.org.uk for more information. If you are unsure what to do you can contact us directly on 0330 303 0368 (calls charged at local rate) or call a registered plumber for advice.

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