Search Legislation

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

Chapter II – Provision of Sewerage Services

77.Chapter II sets out the duties of the undertaker to supply sewerage services to its customers. The provisions are similar to those covering the supply of water.

78.Articles 154 to 174 establish the circumstances governing the supply of sewerage services to the undertaker’s customers including the making of new connections to the sewerage system. Article 154 places a duty on the undertaker to provide a sewer and lateral drain (the pipe connecting the main sewer to the premises) for drainage for domestic purposes when requested to do so. “Domestic purposes” in relation to sewerage means discharge of the contents of lavatories, water which has been used for domestic washing and cooking and surface water from, for example, gutters (Article 174). As with water supply, the undertaker may also make agreements with people who have decided to build their own sewers, drains or treatment works to adopt them so that they become owned and maintained by the undertaker. Unlike water supply, the undertaker can forcibly adopt sewers and drains (a water main connected to the supply system has to vest in the undertaker anyway – Article 89) under Article 159. It can also be requested to adopt sewers, drains or waste water treatment works built after 1973 by the owners of those facilities. The undertaker also has a duty in certain circumstances to provide a sewer where the drainage of any premises is having an adverse environmental effect (Article 157). Exercise of this provision is subject to guidance issued by the Department with individual disputes subject to determination by the Authority. Article 163 gives owners or occupiers the right to have their premises (or any privately owned sewer) connected to the public sewerage system for the purpose of discharging foul or surface water (but not trade effluent – see chapter III below). Articles 164 and 165 provide for the making of connections to the sewerage system; this can be carried out by the undertaker or by the person wishing to make the connection as long as it is supervised by the undertaker (only the undertaker can make a water supply connection). In either case, it is an offence for someone to make a connection to the public sewers other than in accordance with the legislation (Articles 164(2) and 166). It is also an offence, under Article 168, for anyone to dispose of substances or objects into the public sewerage system that might damage it or impair the treatment of its contents.

79.As with water supplies, customers are required to meet costs of work and pay charges for sewerage services in accordance with the undertaker’s charges scheme. Articles 155 allows the undertaker to require financial securities from those requesting sewers and Article 161(6) provides for similar arrangements in respect of adoption agreements. The undertaker can require the provision of appropriate information before agreeing to adoption and that certain standards in the building of the sewer are met. Articles 169 to 173 give the undertaker a number of other powers. Article 169 requires that sewers which a person proposes to connect to the public sewerage system are built to a specification in excess of that required for the particular sewer because of benefits to the wider system (the undertaker has to provide the extra expenditure needed). Articles 170 and 173 allow the undertaker to alter existing drainage systems or close public sewers so long as it meets costs and provides an alternative means of drainage or sewerage disposal. Article 171 provides for the inspection of defective drains by the undertaker. Article 172 allows the undertaker to make agreements with the Department to use road drains as sewers and vice versa.

80.Article 156 sets out time limits for the completion of work in the provision of drains or sewers by the undertaker and for it to pay interest on any securities deposited with it if work is not completed within six months from a prescribed date.  If the undertaker breaches its duty to supply drains or sewers within the prescribed time it is liable to the person making the request for any loss or damage they suffer (Article 154). Disputes between an undertaker and customer about such matters as interest payments, reasonableness of securities demanded, the refusal to adopt sewers or the compulsory adoption of them, the refusal to permit a connection to the public sewer or the terms upon which a connection may be made can be referred to the Authority for resolution.

Back to top


Print Options


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources