Misconnections: getting it right

Misconnections...getting it right
Misconnections...getting it right

If your home’s wastewater pipe is connected to the surface water drain by mistake, the used water from your property can enter rivers and seas untreated. That’s why we try to find any misconnections and put them right.

Putting connections right in our region

When our team found household waste in a surface water sewer in a town that we serve, they knew that some properties in the area must have a misconnection. In fact, five homes built in the 1800’s were found to have had their waste wrongly connected since the properties were connected to mains drainage back in the 1900’s. While it’s often the responsibility of the homeowner to correct a bad connection, this repair was rather difficult so we offered to help. The team had to plan their repair work to reach the right connection six metres below the ground under a main traffic route. Although it was a large and costly project, the properties were connected to the foul sewer, putting right their misconnections.

How does a misconnection happen?

Sometimes, the connection for wastewater from a property has been incorrectly joined to the surface water sewer, rather than the foul sewer – this is a misconnection. Examples of misconnections can go back many decades when properties were first connected to mains drainage in the last century, or when houses were converted into flats to create several properties. The surface water drain is there to carry away the rainwater from roofs and gutters, into local waterways such as rivers or seas. There is a separate connection for wastewater which goes into the foul sewer, where the wastewater can be taken to our wastewater treatment plant.

How you can check for misconnections

If your property was built before 1920, it probably has combined drainage where both wastewater and rainwater share a sewer that drains to a nearby treatment works. If it was built later, it’s likely to have separate sewers. Check if there have been any changes made to the original drainage or any pipes connected to a rainwater downpipe on the side of a property. Have any extensions or alterations been made or has a macerator toilet pump been installed.

We have 700 miles of coastline in our region, and putting right any misconnections is helping us protect our precious seas.