5 Live Updates arrow
Account Login

Sewer adoption

We'll help guide you through the process of offering a newly constituted sewer, pumping station or wastewater treatment works for adoption.


Codes for sewer adoption

On 1 April 2020, Ofwat introduced a new standard practice across the water industry in England. This covers the adoption of newly constructed sewers, pumping stations and wastewater treatment works. You can view the new process in Water UK’s new Sewer Sector Guidance (SSG), which has now replaced the ‘Sewers for Adoption’ guidance.

The sewer adoption application process

The guide below explains what you need to do when offering new sewers, pumping stations, or wastewater treatment works for adoption. We'll be in touch throughout the process to make sure everything runs smoothly.


Pre-planning enquiry

Before you complete the application form, please read the wastewater pre-planning guidance. Please also check the water and wastewater asset maps for your site. You can request maps through us.


Pre-design strategic assessment

For large or complex sites, we can discuss your proposals through a pre-design strategic assessment. You should request this before submitting your sewer adoption application. Please read the wastewater pre-design strategic assessment guidance before applying. Then, complete the application form and email it to us.


Apply online

Fill in our online form and submit your design along with the application fee. We’ll review your application within five days.

If your design includes offering a pumping station for adoption, you’ll need to refer to Pumping Station: Local Practice Guidance.


We'll complete an assessment and send an approval

Our engineers will complete an assessment, and you'll hear from us within 28 days. Once you've received technical approval, you could request an early pre-start meeting. We'll arrange a visit within seven days, and once the inspection is completed, construction can begin.

Sign the adoption agreement

You'll need to enter into an adoption agreement for us to formally adopt the sewers. Once signed, you'll need to pay an adoption fee. We understand construction may need to begin before all parties have signed the agreement. In this case, you can complete an early start request to avoid delays.


Pre-start meeting

Fill out the pre-start inspection request and request a pre-start meeting with one of our wastewater assistant adoption managers. We'll be in touch within 14 days, and your construction can start once the inspection is complete.

Construct your new sewer

After you begin construction, we'll carry out further inspections to ensure the sewer complies with the adoption agreement. Once you've finished construction, we'll carry out a sewer adoption maintenance inspection. When this is completed, we'll provide a provisional certificate to enter into a 12-month maintenance period.

Final inspection and vesting

Three months before the end of your maintenance period, you'll need to request a final inspection. When we've done this and approved, we'll issue a final certificate of completion. The legal vesting of the sewers will happen soon after.

If any variations to the system occur after we've granted technical acceptance, please contact the team at DStechassessment@southernwater.co.uk for further guidance.

Here's a general breakdown of how we assess variation:

  • Minor – You can discuss these with us. If acceptable, they can be recorded on the ‘As Built’ drawings.
  • Major – After initial guidance, these will need to be re-submitted for formal approval.

We consulted with our customers on our Pumping Station Local Practice document. We're reviewing your feedback and will publish our responses soon.

If you'd like to offer feedback, you can email Developer.Communication@Southernwater.co.uk. Please add ‘Pumping Station Consultation’ to the subject line.

Adoptable Pumping Station: Local Practice Guidance

Under Section 102 of the Water Industry Act 1991, the owner of an existing private sewer can apply to transfer ownership of their sewer to us.

All the information you need is in our guidance notes for adopting existing sewers. If you’d like to apply for us to adopt an existing sewer, you can do so through our GetConnected portal.

Section 7 of the sector guidance sets out the process for redress where a level of service metric has not been met by the water company.

We have created a redress document for ease of reference. This covers both the redress guidance and a link to the associated metrics.

Request a callback

We understand that all projects are different. If you need further guidance, you can use this form to request a callback.

Callback form