Misconnected private drains pose a big risk to bathing water quality. 

Misconnections commonly occur when appliances such as toilets, dishwashers and washing machines are incorrectly plumbed into a surface water sewer, instead of the foul sewer. This means that instead of used water being treated at water recycling centres before being returned safely to the environment, it is released directly into our rivers, streams and bathing waters through surface water sewers that were only ever intended to carry harmless rainwater after storms.

Part of the work our coastal water protection team is carrying out involves investigating surface water drains where we suspect there may be a misconnection. A single surface water sewer can be extremely long and may collect rainwater from a large area containing several hundred properties so the task of identifying misconnections can be complicated.

Our specialist teams inspect private manholes and test waste water connections from properties to find out if they are connected to the correct sewer. This approach has been successful in identifying misconnections and rectifying them. Clacton is one area where we are currently focusing and we have plans to expand the area to Wells, Mundesley, Mersea Island, Southend and Felixstowe in the future.

More information to help you determine whether you are connected to the right sewer can be found at www.connectright.org . If you spot anything unusual, that could mean there’s a misconnection; please let us know. We would also encourage customers to use an approved plumber for any home improvements.

To find an approved plumber visit watersafe