Are Your Drains Breaking the Law?

UKDN optimum performance drain grade

Download the “Are Your Drains Breaking the Law?” whitepaper

Did you know that your drainage and sewerage system could be putting you at risk of prosecution, and the environment at risk of pollution?

As far as the construction and architecture industries are concerned, everything from the pipework connections to the effectiveness of overall wastewater management is subject to scrutiny under building regulations and energy efficiency criteria set by the EU.

However, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, there is still an estimated 150,000 to 500,000 UK homes with some sort of drain misconnection – that’s when a household appliance or plumbing is discharged into the wrong sewer. The potential consequences of a misconnection and defected or blocked drains that are left unaddressed can be disastrous for the environment, public health and wildlife, not to mention expensive.

correct drainage connection

In order to tackle illegal drainage and improve drain performance for both domestic and commercial properties and businesses, UKDN Waterflow have created a whitepaper that acts as a comprehensive resource for homeowners and those who may be working with or around drains.

Illegal drain misconnection

With regards to extending or altering an owned property, it is typically the owner who is responsible for the correct setup of the drainage system. Therefore, it’s crucial to regularly check the condition of the property’s drainage system to ensure it is compliant with the law and not at risk of causing flooding or pollution in the local area. The types of missed connections or poorly planned soakaways that tend to cause flooding and pollution are, indeed, illegal in the UK and can lead to prosecution by local authorities or the Environment Agency.

Therefore, UKDN Waterflow have introduced the Optimum Performance Code. This has been designed to be entirely accessible to UK homeowners and particularly anyone in the construction and architectural sectors to ensure that swift and appropriate action can be taken as and when it is necessary.

The code is split into five distinct grades for judging the condition of a drain. The code aims to bring complete clarity to drain inspections at all levels, whether it concerns household foul sewers, surface water sewers or industrial-size sewers.


UKDN Waterflow’s Optimum Performance Code

UKDN optimum performance drain grade

A: No issues.

The optimum level of drain efficiency. No issues were identified and the drain is well-laid with no misconnections, displaced or open joints, incorrect gradients or root ingress, which means it can achieve an efficient flow with no blockages or leaks.

What to look out for: The drains and pipes are in good condition and there are no visible cracks or build-up of grease. The wastewater is draining properly and the flow is at optimum efficiency. There is nothing visible in the drainpipes that could cause obstructions or blockages.

B: Long term issues.

The drain is operating efficiently, but small issues that are affecting free-flowing wastewater are present, such as minor grease levels or minor gradient deficiencies. A CCTV survey or repair schedule needs to be planned to improve overall drain efficiency.

What to look out for: The drains and pipes are in good working order, but visible wear and tear means that minor blockages or obstructions may be occurring, which could be disrupting the efficiency of the water flow. The pipes may need to be cleaned and mended to achieve optimum efficiency.

C: Minor issues.

The drain is in need of repair due to noticeable deterioration of the pipes, such as blockages, erosion, cracks and leaks.

What to look out for: The drains and pipes are showing significant signs of depreciation and blockages, leaks or water ingress have been identified. The wastewater is draining slowly and the system is emanating unpleasant odours.

D: Major issues.

The drain is in danger of becoming structurally unsound or causing a flood and must be allocated a repair schedule as soon as possible. The threat of permanent damage, serious blockages, pollution or flooding is very high and requires immediate attention.

What to look out for: The water is stagnant and there are small leaks, cracks or collapses in the drainpipes. The pipework is at an incorrect gradient and may be causing blockages and leaks, which has the potential to affect the surrounding substrate.

E: Immediate attention needed.

Urgent maintenance and drain repair is needed due to collapse, fractured/broken pipework, structural damage, pollution, and blockages or flooding. The drain simply cannot continue to function in its current state.

 What to look out for: There are misconnected pipes with significant cracks and leaks or subsidence. Some pipework is missing, there is a backlog of wastewater and the drain is overflowing to the point at which it is causing large blockages or obstructions.

This new coding system is designed to be entirely accessible to home owners and anyone in the construction and architectaural sectors so that swift and appropriate action can be taken as and when it is necessary for any type of drainage system, whether it concerns a pipe as small as 75 mm in diameter or a trunk sewer that is over 1 metre wide.

Clear descriptions without the jargon make it easy to evaluate when professional action needs to be taken for proper drain maintenance, such as drain unblocking services, CCTV drain surveys or drain cleaning – which means that illegal scenarios that present risks to tenants and neighbours, for instance, can be prevented.

In the following whitepaper – Are Your Drains Breaking the Law? – we’ll look at what an illegal drain is, UK drain regulations that could affect your current or future property, and the EU energy efficiency directive and how it should be applied to drainage. We’ll also put our detailed Optimum Performance Code to the test with examples and images.

Download the “Are Your Drains Breaking the Law?” whitepaper

UKDN CCTV drain survey footage

If you are concerned that you’re potentially damaged or blocked drains could be breaking the law or not conforming to drainage building regulations, contact UKDN Waterflow (LG) Ltd today to seek professional assistance. With our state-of-the-art drain camera and software technology, and engineers who are trained to Water Industry standards, we can diagnose drainage problems for any type of property or infrastructure. Don’t let your drains break the law. Get a class-leading CCTV drain survey, comprehensive report and drain repair scheduled today.