Is your home connected right?
Or are you unknowingly in danger of polluting local streams and rivers?
Sometimes kitchen appliances, sinks, toilets and bathrooms in homes and businesses, and trade effluent from business processes, are misconnected.
They can be mistakenly plumbed into surface water drains that remove rainwater and connect directly into streams and rivers.
When instead they should be connected to the foul water sewer so soapy and dirty water can be treated at a sewage works before being released into the environment.
The surface water system is designed to take clean rainwater from roofs, areas of clean hard standing and road runoff.
When drains are misconnected fast flowing water, particularly during winter months, increases the likelihood of pollution being carried downstream putting more fish and plant life at risk.
So it is important to take extra care to stop the problem at its source by connecting appliances correctly.
We have a dedicated Streamclean team surveying streams, rivers and drains looking for signs of pollution.
The team works its way along drains to trace where pollution has come from and sometimes discovers it is from domestic properties.
By adding harmless dye to water drained from an appliance it can then trace how it travels through the system and confirm the source. Sometimes it discovers it is from domestic properties.
What happens when a misconnection is discovered?
When a misconnection is discovered we contact the home owner and explain our findings to them.
If they are out we leave a letter asking them to correct the situation within 30 days or, if the misconnection is slightly trickier, we will extend this to 90 days.
In 99% of cases the homeowner rectifies the plumbing but if they do not we may need to notify the Environment Agency (EA) to enforce action.
Often homeowners are not aware of the pollution issue and are keen to put the situation right once they understand how the system works.
Polluting streams and rivers can result in prosecution and the payment of fines as well as clean-up costs.
By fixing the problem you will protect the environment, prevent health risks, reduce flooding and avoid penalty charges.
The ConnectRight campaign is a collaboration between Water UK, EA, Consumer Council for Water, Defra, Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
The campaign’s website contains guidance on how you can check whether your home plumbing is connected properly and if it is not, what you can do to rectify the issue.
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