Paying for sewerage

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

This page explains how you are charged for public sewerage services.

What are sewerage charges?

If you pay for public sewerage, the charges are usually included in your water bill.

The sewerage charge is for:

  • waste water to be taken away from your building

  • surface water drainage to be taken to the sewerage company's sewer. Surface water is rainwater that falls onto a property, which drains into the public sewer

  • highway drainage.

Each company sets its own charges which they publish annually in a charges scheme approved by the water industry regulator OFWAT. You can get details of the charges scheme from your water company.

Can you get a rebate if your surface water does not drain into a public sewer?

If rainwater falls onto your property and then drains into a public sewer, the cost for this drainage is included in your sewerage bill.

If rainwater does not drain from your property into a public sewer, because you have a soakaway and/or the water drains to a stream or river, you may be able to get a surface water drainage rebate. You should make an application to your company providing evidence that none of your surface water enters the public sewer. Your company should explain the kind of evidence that it would need to see. They will check whether you qualify. Your company will not normally backdate rebates for periods before the current charging year.

What if you don’t use the public sewerage system?

Not everyone uses the public sewerage system. Some people have private sewers or use cesspools or other types of sewerage. If you don’t use public sewerage, you don’t have to pay the water company for it.

When do you pay your sewerage bill?

Often, you’ll get water and sewerage from the same company and will only get one bill. If you get water and sewerage from different companies, you may get two bills. However, many water companies collect sewerage on behalf of a sewerage company. In this case, you will only get one bill.

You will usually be charged for sewerage as part of your water bill once or twice a year. If you don’t have a water meter, the bill will be for the next billing period. If you do have a water meter, the bill will be for the previous billing period.

Complaining about your sewerage charges

Help with your sewerage charges

You may be able to get help with your water and sewerage charges.

Next steps

Other useful information

Check which water company supplies your area on the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) website.

If you need help with your water, contact the CCW on their website.

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020