Whose pipe is it? Your guide to pipework responsibilities

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1 Whose pipe is it? Your guide to pipework responsibilities

2 Responsibility for pipework If there was a problem with your water supply or sewerage would you know whose responsibility it is to get it fixed? And what happens if you share a pipe with neighbouring properties? This leaflet will tell you all about the different types of water and waste pipes and whose responsibility it is to repair them. For a list of other Codes of Practice please see the back cover of this leaflet. They re all free of charge simply ask us for a copy.

3 Water pipework Is Yorkshire Water responsible for water pipework? We re normally responsible for all pipework to the boundary of the street where our water main is laid. This includes: Water mains. Stop taps in the road or pavement. Pipework between the main and the boundary of the street, known as the communication pipe. These are normally displayed on maps of our pipe network, which you can see free of charge at our head office at Western House, Halifax Road, Bradford, BD6 2SZ. Your supply pipe Yorkshire Water pipe (communication pipe) Stop tap Main Am I responsible for any water pipework? Yes, you re normally responsible for all pipework taking water from the boundary of the street to your home. This includes: Pipework between the boundary of the street and your home, known as the supply pipe. Stop taps on your property, either inside or outside. All the plumbing in your home. What if I share pipes with my neighbours? If you share a supply pipe with your neighbours (this is most common in older properties), you re likely to be jointly responsible for maintaining and repairing the pipe. If you experience low pressure or flow from your taps when your neighbours use the supply, please contact us so that we can look into it. If you re unsure whether you share a supply pipe with your neighbours, please contact us and we ll help you to find out.

4 What if the supply pipe runs through another private property before reaching mine? You re still normally responsible for it. This is intended to protect water supplies from contamination and misuse. If you carry out or arrange for a contractor to carry out any plumbing work or installations at your property, you must ensure that it complies with these regulations. There are some circumstances where we can insist on separate water supplies being installed. For example, if you re planning to re-develop your property into a number of individual units, such as flats, we ll normally require that you provide a separate metered water supply to each. If you dispute the need for separate supplies you have the right to raise this with the industry regulator Ofwat. If you have an older property, it may be earthed using the metal water supply pipe, despite the fact that the water pipe was never intended for that purpose. Since 1966 electrical wiring regulations have prohibited the use of metal water pipes as the sole means of earthing electrical installations in the home. If you believe that your home may be earthed in this way, we strongly advise you to consult a qualified electrician or the company that provides your electricity, and ensure that you have appropriate earthing arrangements in place. We have no responsibility for the earthing for your home. Please contact us on if you require further information. Is Yorkshire Water responsible for repairing any pipework? We re responsible for our water pipes (pipes in roads, footpaths and the service strip to the boundary of your property) and for repairing leaks on them. If you see a leak in the street or near your home, please telephone our 24-hour freephone Leakline on

5 Whose responsibility is the meter? The meter and its connections belong to us, and we look after any repairs or replacements at our cost. More details can be found in our Code of Practice for Water Meters titled Would A Water Meter Be Right For Me. Grants may be available for replacing pipes. Please contact your Local Authority before you start work. Go to yorkshirewater.com/policies or call us on How do I know if I have lead pipes? If your home was built before 1970 it may have lead pipes after that time, it is unlikely because there was a change in building regulations. While the water from our Treatment Works does not contain lead, it can absorb small traces of the metal if left to stand for a long time in lead supply pipes or internal plumbing. Health experts believe the most prudent approach is to keep lead levels as low as possible to protect public health. Am I responsible if the pipework leaks? Yes, you re responsible for repairing leaking pipes between the boundary of the street and your home, as well as any faulty plumbing on your property. If your property has a metered supply and you suspect that there is a leak, you can check by turning off all taps in the house and making sure that no water is going into cisterns or storage tanks. Then read the meter. Leave the water turned off for between a quarter of an hour and an hour, then read the meter again. If the second reading is higher than the first, you may have a leak. Visit: yorkshirewater.com/leakcheck for more help and a copy of our Are you using or losing water leaflet. If you need further help please telephone You may be eligible for a free repair. Please refer to our Code of Practice on leakage titled What happens if you ve got a leak which gives further helpful advice and information about leakage detection, free supply pipe repairs for domestic customers and, for customers with meters, allowances for leakage against water and sewerage charges. Please contact us for your free copy or go to yorkshirewater.com/policies What if my supply pipe is old? If your home has an old metal supply pipe, it may be corroded, increasing the risk of a burst. Modern supply pipes are made of durable plastic, and you may wish to consider replacing the existing pipe. Please contact us for advice and information.

6 What can I do to prevent leaks on my pipework? The water pipes in and around your home are at greatest risk during very cold weather if not properly protected. Frost damage to water pipes is inconvenient and can be expensive to put right. A few simple precautions can help prevent pipe bursts and save water. Check that all pipework, cisterns and tanks in unheated areas like lofts and cellars are well insulated, using good quality, waterproof foam lagging or insulated tape. Keep your heating on low during really cold spells set your timer to constant and use your thermostat to maintain warmth. Know where your stop tap is in case your pipes burst as a result of the cold weather. If you re going away over the winter period, ask your neighbours to pop round regularly to check that your pipes haven t frozen or burst. For further advice visit yorkshirewater.com/frost Are there any regulations that my pipework must meet? Your pipework and plumbing must comply with the 1999 Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations. We can t connect you to our pipework if your home doesn t comply with these regulations. Look in and behind your kitchen cupboards and find the pipe leading to the kitchen tap. Lead pipes are dull grey. They are also soft. If you gently scrape the surface of the pipe, you will see the shiny, silver-coloured metal beneath.

7 We ll replace any lead pipes in our part of the supply from the water main to the stop tap at the boundary of your property. This is free of charge providing you are prepared to remove your lead supply pipe, which runs from the boundary of the property to the point of entry into the building. Where can I find more information about water pipework? Please visit yorkshirewater.com or contact us on if you have any questions about pipework responsibilities, leakage or water supply regulations. Waste Water pipework Are Yorkshire Water responsible for any waste water pipework? As the Sewerage Undertaker, we own and maintain public sewers. They re normally displayed on public sewer maps, which you can see free of charge at our head office at Western House, Halifax Road, Bradford, or at the appropriate Local Authority office. What types of drainage pipes are there? There are 3 types: Private drains serving just one property and located within the property boundary. There may also on occasions be private sewers within the property boundary. Lateral drains serving one property but located outside the property boundary. Public sewers serving more than one property. Public sewers could be laid in private land, footpaths, public roads, gardens or public open spaces. Private drains are located within a property boundary, serving that property alone. Drains and sewers can be designed for combined systems, which carry both foul and surface water, or separate systems, which only carry either foul or surface water. The diagrams across are for general illustrative purposes only and do not represent any specific location or situation. If you need advice about the drains or sewers serving your property, please contact us.

8 1 Detached properties 2 Semidetached properties 3 Terraced or town house properties 4 Flats or Apartments Key Property owner s responsibility Yorkshire Water s responsibility Property boundary

9 You re responsible for the cost of repairs to drains and associated inspection chambers serving your own property alone, up to and including their connection with a public sewer, stream, river or other means of disposal. Am I responsible for any drains? You re responsible for the private drain within your property boundary, serving your property alone. Where a drain leaves your property boundary it is usually our responsibility. Shared pipes serving more than one property (sewer) are usually also our responsibility, even if they are located within a property boundary. If you re unsure about whom is responsible, please contact us on Who s responsible for the sewer if I live in a council house? The Local Authority is responsible for private drains and we re responsible for the public sewer. If you own a former Council house, the terms of your purchase may mean you re responsible or partly responsible for a private drain. Am I responsible for any other waste water pipework? There are some private, unadopted sewers in our area, which we don t own. Your property deeds should tell you if there s one on your land and who s responsible for it. If your deeds don t confirm this, and there s a blockage or other problem along a private sewer, the owner of the sewer or the occupiers of any property served by it will be responsible for the repair costs. If you re buying a property, make sure your solicitor checks whether the sewer is adopted.

10 Can Yorkshire Water take over responsibility for private sewers? You can apply for us to adopt a private sewer and become responsible for it, if it s in a suitable location, has been maintained in an acceptable condition and meets our standards. If the sewer needs work to meet these adoption standards, you ll have to meet the costs. You can appeal to the industry regulator Ofwat, if you think we ve unreasonably refused to adopt a sewer or set unreasonable conditions. For more information about our waste water and sewerage system please refer to our Code of Practice Where does your water go? What if I m a tenant? If you rent your home, the property owner is normally responsible for repairs or maintenance to private pipework. Check with your landlord for confirmation. What if another company provides my water or waste water services? On the outskirts of the region, the boundaries for water and sewerage services may differ. The areas in which some water and sewerage companies operate will therefore overlap. You may find that your water provider and your sewerage undertaker are different companies. It is advisable to check with the company providing your bill (this will always be your water provider). Can Yorkshire Water control property development? Yes, but only in certain circumstances. In order to protect our water and sewerage systems, we have legal protection to control property development, extensions or any building work over or near our pipes. Building over, or near to, a public sewer is controlled by Requirement H4 of The Building Regulations Can Yorkshire Water gain access to my property? We have legal access to your property to lay, inspect, repair or maintain pipework, but we try to minimise disruption and damage to your property. We ll consider compensation claims for any damage or inconvenience caused. We have a separate leaflet explaining our procedure for entry onto private land. Please contact us if you require a free copy. We may also gain access to your property if you ve breached water regulations, or for commercial or mixed-use properties to carry out routine water regulation inspections. We may also visit your home to obtain samples from your tap so that we can test the quality of the water. If you have a dispute with us concerning our powers to lay pipes on private land you can contact Ofwat, the industry regulator.

11 Remember bogus callers may try to trick you by saying there s an urgent problem with your water. We recommend that you set up a free security password, so that you can confirm the identity of anyone calling at your home and claiming to be from Yorkshire Water. If you d like to register, please call us on For your own safety, always ask for proof of identification. All our colleagues and partners working on our behalf carry identity cards displaying the holder s photograph, and if you re in any doubt you can contact us on the number above to check whether a caller is genuine. Our customer complaints procedure What can I do if I m not happy? We aim to provide a high standard of service and to treat you with courtesy and fairness at all times. We welcome any comments you may have, and we try to answer queries and resolve complaints quickly and in full. Please contact us as soon as possible if you re not satisfied with our service. We ll then investigate your complaint and try to resolve it to your satisfaction. Where your complaint is justified, we ll apologise and do everything we can to put things right as soon as possible.

12 What if we fail to meet our standards? Step 1: Our Customer Charter If we fail to meet any of our standards, we ll pay you compensation in line with our Customer Charter. We ll consider claims for compensation in respect of any loss or damage that we cause. Similarly, if we ve caused you particular hardship or inconvenience you can claim for compensation and we ll take into account your circumstances when settling your claim. If you wish to make a claim, please call us on or visit yorkshirewater.com/policies Step 2: Formal review of your complaint If you re not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint or claim, or the way we ve handled it, you can request for our Head of Customer Service to carry out a formal review. Please contact us, explaining why you remain dissatisfied and what action you would like us to take. The review may result in the original decision being overturned. We ll let you know the outcome of our review within seven working days. If we fail to do this, we ll give you an automatic payment under our Customer Charter. Step 3: Independent review by CCWater If you re still unhappy with the outcome of your complaint or claim, you may request an independent review, by telephoning or writing to: Visit the CCWater website Call CCWater on Write to CCWater at Consumer Council for Water Second Floor Bondgate House 90 Bondgate Darlington DL3 7JY

13 The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) is an independent national body set up to protect your interests and to champion customer issues. CCWater ensures that the customers collective voice is heard in the national water debate and has undertaken research to understand customers views and use this to influence decision makers within the industry. CCWater will investigate customer complaints relating to our business activities. The regional office may then act on your behalf to try to resolve your complaint with us. Under the Water Industry Act 1991, the industry regulator, Ofwat, or an independent arbitrator may settle certain disputes. Where this is appropriate, we ll explain the action you can take or you may prefer to seek advice from CCWater or another independent advice agency. If CCWater asks us to withhold debt recovery action whilst looking into you complaint, we ll agree to do so. Step 4: Independent review by the Water Industry Redress Scheme If you re unhappy with the review from CCWater, you have the right to refer your case to the Water Industry Redress Scheme (WATRS). If you would like to learn more about WATRS or make an application: Visit the WATRS website Call WATRS on Write to WATRS at WATRS International Dispute Resolution Centre 70 Fleet Street London EC4Y 1EU WATRS are neutral arbitrators who will look at your case independently of Yorkshire Water and CCWater to try and reach a fair decision. This service is free to our customers.

14 If you need to get in touch: Visit our website yorkshirewater.com Tweet Call us on Our contact centre is open for billing enquiries Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. For water and sewerage enquiries we re open Monday to Saturday 6.30am-10pm and Sunday 7.30am-10pm. We re open 24 hours a day for emergency calls. Write to us PO Box 52 Bradford BD3 7YD Other useful numbers: Asian language Text telephone/minicom Hour automated services (meter readings and payments) Fax number Codes of Practice available: Our Customer Charter What if you need some extra help? What do we charge and why? Tell us what you think What if paying your bill is a problem? How do we manage your water supply? What happens if you ve got a leak? Whose pipe is it? Where does your water go? Would a water meter be right for you? Our Business Customer Charter details our service commitments, including the payments you re entitled to if we don t meet our promises. Visit yorkshirewater.com/policies for details Yorkshire Water Services Limited, Western House, Halifax Road, Bradford, BD6 2SZ. Registered in England and Wales No COP PR 2015

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