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Surface Water Drainage

EDS have a quarter of a century of experience in the field of drainage surveys.

We can utilise this experience to assess a site or property to ascertain its Surface Water Drainage characteristics and provide a “One Stop Shop” for applying for and obtaining a reduction in surface water drainage charges where applicable from the Water Company on your behalf.

When a reduction in Surface Water Drainage charge is achievable then these savings will be year on year and not a one-off saving.

We can also propose changes to your drainage system(s) and design and implement these changes which, for an initial investment will provide further long-term savings.

What is Surface Water Drainage?

Water and sewerage companies have to remove and process the rain water which falls on properties and then flows directly or indirectly into the public drainage systems. This is known as surface water drainage (SWD).
This is an essential service. Without good upkeep of the drainage system, the likelihood of surface water flooding and sewer flooding would increase dramatically.

This essential service comes at a significant cost. The cost of providing SWD services across England and Wales is approximately £600 million a year. Companies are therefore entitled to charge customers so they can provide this service.
Currently four out of the ten water and sewerage companies in England and Wales charge non-household customers by site area: Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water, Northumbrian Water and United Utilities.

Surface water drainage charges based on site area are only payable for areas which drain, directly or indirectly, into public sewers.

Therefore areas where water does not run off to a drain, such as church yards or playing fields, are not subject to the charge. This can mean the cost of site area charges for organisations such as churches and sports clubs are significantly reduced. Where a water company has not taken account of such features the customer may notify the company, which should then make the adjustment.

What you can do to reduce your charge?

We understand that the immediate concern for any customer who has seen charges rise is what they can do to reduce their bills. Key things you can do include:

1. Checking your water company’s estimate of the site area is correct

Contact your water company – you will find details of how to do this on your bill. Companies who charge SWD by site area will have made an estimate of the site area, but this estimate may be incorrect.
If you believe there has been a miscalculation, you should contact your water company for a review. You may be in the wrong charging band and your charges may be too high.

2. Checking your water company’s estimate of chargeable site area is correct

Contact your water company. They may also have not taken account of site area where natural drainage occurs. You should only be charged for SWD for areas which, directly or indirectly, drain into public sewers.
Therefore, areas which drain naturally, such as sports fields or gravel car parks should not be included in the chargeable site area. Again if you believe that such areas have not been taken into consideration, you should contact your water company for a review. This could result in significant savings.

3. Taking action to reduce charges

You can also take action to reduce your charges by reducing the amount of surface water on your site that drains into the public sewers. Some of the ways of doing this include:

  • Installing a Soakaway in very basic terms, a Soakaway is man-made hole in the ground filled with gravel. It collects water and allows it to disperse and drain naturally away. The cost of putting in a small (1m3) Soakaway costs in the region of £650.
  • Changing impermeable area to permeable ones

Natural drainage can be promoted by converting areas which do not allow water to soak through, such as an asphalt car park, to ones which do, such as a gravel one.