repairing leaks to your service pipe increasing water efficiency

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1 repairing leaks to your service pipe increasing water efficiency

2 nobody loves a leak A water leak on your property is a waste of a precious resource. If left running it may cause damage to your property and will cost you money if your water supply is metered. It is in everyone s interest to get the leak fixed as quickly as possible. Property Boundary Service Pipe Stop Tap Water Main Who owns the pipework? Severn Trent Water owns and maintains the water mains and services in the street and in the footpath up to the boundary of your property, subject to some minor or rare exceptions. All property owners are responsible, by law, for maintaining the underground water service pipe that runs from the boundary of their property into the home. In other words, if there is a leak on this part of the service pipe within the property boundary, the responsibility for making a repair falls to the property owner. In some circumstances, responsibility may extend beyond the property boundary. (See the frequently asked questions on page 4 for more information.) 1

3 repairing leaks to your service pipe Severn Trent Water may be able to help As part of our effort to reduce water leakage we may be able to help. Severn Trent Water provides a free, non emergency, repair service for straightforward leaks on service pipes. We will not carry out a free repair if the leak is found to be: inside your home under or close to a wall, shed, garage or any permanent structure under a block paved or concrete reinforced surface We will also not repair free of charge if: we cannot readily identify where the leak is. For example, on a very long length of pipe the leak is on someone else s property the pipework is in very poor condition. For example, if the service pipe has burst more than twice in the previous two years We do not provide an emergency service in relation to private pipes and will deal with the leak in working hours as part of our normal workload. A representative from Severn Trent Water will advise you if the free repair service is applicable, given your circumstances and what to do next. If we cannot offer a free repair then we will be happy, in most cases, to provide a price to carry out the work. Alternatively, you can repair the leak yourself or use a contractor or plumber of your choice, at your own expense. 2

4 What happens if I m not eligible for a free repair? If we will not repair the leak, the property owner must take steps to have the leak repaired within 7 days at their own expense. If the service pipe is in very poor condition and is likely to burst again, we may offer to re-lay it at a competitive cost. If this is the case we will advise the property owner how to proceed. It is our duty under law to prevent the loss of water from the water supply network. If the leak is not repaired under our free repair scheme or is not repaired promptly by the property owner, we may start legal proceedings under Section 75 of the Water Industry Act In the first instance we will write to the property owner outlining their responsibilities, confirming that a repair is required to be made at their own cost. As a last resort we will obtain a court order to enter your property, make the repair and charge the property owner all proper and reasonable costs. Further information For further information please read the frequently asked questions opposite. If you wish to draw attention to any particular or special circumstances, please call our Operation Contact Centre on

5 repairing leaks to your service pipe frequently asked questions What part of the water supply pipe am I legally responsible for? If you are a property owner you are generally responsible for the service pipe from the boundary of your property with the street to where it enters the house. However, if the stop tap is located within the property boundary, the property owner is responsible for that part of the service pipe between the house and the stop tap, Severn Trent Water is responsible for the remainder. In some circumstances, the property owner s responsibility may extend beyond the property boundary, for instance, if the water main which serves the property is located in a different street from the property or if the service pipe runs through a neighbouring property. You ve said I m eligible for a free repair, what do I need to do? Please fill out and sign the accompanying consent form and send it to the address shown. If you have mislaid your consent form please call for another one. I live in rented accommodation, am I eligible for a free repair? Yes. If the leak meets our criteria, we will repair the service pipe free of charge. In this event please contact your landlord to fill out and sign the accompanying consent form and send it to the address shown. How quickly will the repair be completed? The service we offer is not an emergency call out service. We will endeavour to complete the repair as soon as possible, normally within 5 working days from receipt of your completed consent form. Will the repair affect the electrical earthing of the property? Prior to 1966 it was common practice for water service pipes to be used as the main earth for electrical systems. A repair to the service pipe may disrupt its electrical earthing properties. We strongly advise the property owner to contact their electrical supply company, or other approved electrical contractor to check the earthing arrangements. 4

6 I share my service pipe with a neighbour - how does that affect me? If you share a service pipe, you are normally jointly responsible for its maintenance. All those downstream of the leak are normally responsible for its repair. In Figure 1 below, a leak at X is the responsibility of A, B and C; a leak at Y requires A and B to take some action. The leak is on my service pipe but on my neighbour s land? If the leak on your service pipe is on the land of a neighbour, as at point Z in Figure 2 below, then we will not offer a free repair. A B C D E Y X Z Figure 1 Figure 2 How many holes will you have to dig? If the location of the leak is readily apparent we will only need to dig once. However, in certain circumstances we may have to dig more than one hole to locate and then fix the leak. I m not entitled to a free repair; what do I do next? The property owner must arrange for the leak to be fixed and let us know when this has been done using the form provided. What happens if the property owner refuses to repair the leak? In extreme circumstances, we can obtain a court order to access the property, carry out the work and charge the owner for the full cost of the repairs, or a proportion if the supply is shared. 5

7 repairing leaks to your service pipe Will you make the drive as good as new when you ve finished? Where we have excavated a paved surface or hard standing area, we will reinstate the area with black tarmac and leave it in a safe and tidy condition. The property owner will be responsible for making the paved surface as good as new. Note: We will not offer a free repair if the leak is under a block paved or concrete reinforced surface. Before After black tarmac I run a business from my premises; can I qualify for a free repair? Yes, provided the location of the leak meets our criteria and your service pipe is no greater than 32mm (1.25 inches) in diameter. I live in a council owned property; do I qualify for a free repair? Yes, provided that the location of the leak meets our criteria and the council grants permission as landlord. Can I protect myself against future leaks? If there has been two or more leaks on the service pipe it is likely that the pipe is at the end of its life and needs replacing. We may be able to relay the service pipe at a competitive cost. If this is the case, please ask the Network Services Technician who has been in contact with you. I have a leak inside my house am I covered? No. The free repair scheme is for external work only. The property owner must, however, have any internal leak repaired within 7 days or we may start legal proceedings under Section 75 of the Water Industry Act

8 Severn Trent Water Ltd 2297 Coventry Road Birmingham B26 3PU HT JP

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