Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT December 2017

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 22 of 39

Private drains and sewers transfer – six years on October 1st 2011 marked a major change in the way sewers and drains running from private properties into the public sewer system were managed, as water companies took over responsibility for many of these assets. As we pass the sixth anniversary of the transfer, Andy Brierley of Lanes Utilities - Thames Water's wastewater network services maintenance partner - reviews its continuing impact The Knowledge www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | DECEMBER 2017 | 23 BY ANDY BRIERLEY, FRAMEWORK TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, LANES GROUP INTRODUCTION The private sewers and drains (PDAS) transfer, which started in October 2011 was a major change in the way sewer systems were maintained in the UK. But, arguably, it happened with the general public barely noticing. While the owners of individual properties were responsible for maintaining all drain and sewer pipes leading from their properties into public sewers, many of them – householders especially – barely realised this was the case. It only became apparent when things went wrong. Then, they faced potentially very large repair bills to put things right. A er the PDAS transfer, private property owners have remained responsible for maintaining sewer pipes within their property boundaries, as long as they only service their property. But once the pipe leaves their property, it became the responsibility of the local water company to maintain it. This was a big change. The size of the wastewater network managed by water companies doubled overnight. Many of the drainage assets were old, inaccessible and in bad condition. Most of them were also unmapped. This represented a major challenge for water companies. The amount of effort needed to bring these assets up to a good standard has been phenomenal. At the same time, the water regulator, Ofwat, through its CSAT system, has continued to set a very high bar for service quality standards. So, has PDAS turned out to have been a positive thing for the UK's water infrastructure? Perhaps is best way to answer that is to ask a number of other key questions about PDAS, six years on.

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