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Explanatory Memorandum to Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Chapter I – General Functions of Sewerage Undertakers

75.Chapter I sets out the undertaker’s main duty and matters concerning performance standards in relation to the provision of sewerage services.  The provisions are similar to those covering the supply of water (see Part IV above).

76.Article 149 sets out the general duty of the undertaker to provide, improve, maintain, cleanse and extend public sewers so as to provide effective drainage and to deal with the contents of sewerage effectively. In carrying out its duty the undertaker must have regard to the need to accept the discharge of trade effluent into its sewers and provide for its disposal (see Chapter III below).  The undertaker’s obligation to meet its sewerage supply duties is enforceable by the Department or the Authority if the Department delegates responsibility to it.  In order to facilitate the determination of what constitutes a breach of the undertaker’s duty or to establish overall performance standards the Department may make regulations setting out these matters (Article 150).  However, the Department cannot make regulations unless the Authority has first applied to it to do so and set out the substance of what should be contained in the regulations after consulting the undertaker and carrying out customer research (Article 152).  The regulations, amongst other things, can require the undertaker to pay compensation to customers if it fails to meet the prescribed standards.  Article 151 obliges the Authority to collect information about performance standards and to publish them annually.  The undertaker is required to provide information on performance standards to the Authority (it commits an offence if it fails to do so) and to its customers (Article 153). Regulations, whilst additional to enforcement, do not in any way qualify the powers to enforce.

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