Updated fee and bonding arrangement

Sewer connections: Information about ‘The Welsh Ministers’ Standards’ and related fee and bonding arrangements.

Following the transfer of private sewers to water and sewerage companies on 1 October 2011, the Welsh Government will be introducing mandatory adoption arrangements for newly constructed sewers and lateral drains. These new ‘Welsh Ministers’ Standards’ for foul sewers and lateral drains also come into force on 1 October 2012.

The new law and Standards are the second stage of clarifying ownership and management of private sewers and lateral drains in our area. Last year’s transfer is greatly benefiting individual customers with private sewer problems. It is also benefiting developers as they are no longer responsible for maintaining and repairing the sewers they constructed.

The new law will, under Section 42 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, require Welsh Water to ensure that all new sewers and lateral drains that are constructed and connected to the public sewerage system are adopted as part of the public system. This will ensure that future liabilities and maintenance obligations rest with Welsh Water, and not with developers or householders. It will remove the cost burden of repairs that the householders have faced.

In addition the new Standards will deliver further benefits, and by ensuring that sewers are constructed to an acceptable standard for adoption they are intended to improve the network to benefit the wider community and environment in the long-term. The Welsh Ministers’ Standards will apply to foul sewers. More detailed standards for other sewerage assets requiring adoption will be included in ‘Sewers for Adoption 7th Edition’.

In response to this change in the law Welsh Water is amending its sewer adoption process. As a not-for-profit company without shareholders we have aimed to implement changes that are fair to developers and with equitable protection for our customers.

It will become a requirement for every proposed sewer connection approval by Welsh Water – for foul or surface water sewerage – to be conditional on an adoption agreement being in place before any drainage construction work begins.

We are currently maintaining the same technical fee structure for developers that has been in place for more than 30 years. However, there will be a change in the surety requirement, or bond, required as a guarantee for a set ‘defects liability period.’

As these new mandatory adoption arrangements increase the risk to the company and our customers, we have therefore reviewed the existing 10per cent of construction cost guarantee. It will increase to 33per cent, subject to a minimum of £500. However, the new process will see sewers adopted much earlier and therefore the guarantee will be in place for a much shorter period of time. The length of time developers’ bonds will be held could reduce from as long as 10 years to as little as two years. For applicants who are improving or constructing a single property with a gravity lateral drain, a cash deposit of £500 will be required for only a three month defect liability period.

In addition, the new adoption standards provide scope for efficiencies that could enable developers to reduce their costs.

We will keep these financial arrangements under review and engage with developers and other interested parties so that construction and economic growth is supported while meeting these new legal standards.

If you have any queries about the new Standards, we will be pleased to provide all the help we can. More information can be seen on the developer services pages and you can contact us on mbsfaq@dwrcymru.com.