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Who's responsible for water supplies?

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Steve Maskery

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My neighbour came round yesterday. They have a water leak under their drive.
There is a stop tap in the pavement outside their house and it serves 4 houses, including mine.
They have received a letter from Severn Trent telling them that because it is on private property and beyond the stop tap, ST are not responsible for it and the work is to be charged to all 4 houses.

Is that right? Am I really responsible for a water leak under someone else's drive? It seems bonkers to me.
 

MikeG.

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If it is beyond the stop tap, but prior to the branching off to each house, then I guess they're probably right. But if it is after the branching happens, (in other words, it is on one house's private supply), then I'd be digging my heels in very hard indeed if I were you, assuming it wasn't my / your supply.

Are you on meters? If so, where are they?
 

Steve Maskery

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That is what would have thought, Mike.
Neither of us is on a meter, I don't know about the other two houses.
I've not received a letter from ST (but that doesn't mean that one is not on the way. of course).
 

Bod

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Does your house insurance cover mains water leaks?
Ours did.

Bod
 

Rorschach

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After the meter/shutoff ( assuming on your property) is your responsibility. If it serves multiple houses then you are responsible for the bit after it splits. Before the split would be shared responsibility. So yes you could in fact be liable.

HOWEVER, since the leak is after the meter, the water company cannot make you use their services to fix it. You are well within your rights (assuming agreement with the other homeowners) to work on the water supply yourself or use your own contractor.

Working on water mains is actually pretty easy if it's after the shutoff as you can isolate the supply. Pipe fittings are cheap and easy to source. If it's a simple pinhole leak you can just cut the pipe and put in a coupler. Usually the hardest part is locating the leak and digging it up.
If the pipe in question is black alkathene pipe then I would seriously consider getting the whole pipe replaced, it is very prone to pinhole leaking and once it starts you will find this happens again and again in different spots. We had this problem but unfortunately the pipe ran under the concrete slab of the property so access was going to be difficult. Luckily the plumber we hired was skilled in dealing with that pipe and because alkathene pipe is very thick they ran a new pipe inside the old one, solving the issue very cheaply.
 

Steve Maskery

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Yes, that the diagram my neighbour ha been given.
This is complicated by the fact that these houses share driveways. They were built before ordinary people had cars. It's a generous entry for a hand-cart, it's rather tight for cars, that sort of shared. But he reckons that that just means that the insurance companies will just pass the buck.
We'll see.
 

Woodchips2

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Hi Steve,
There is guidance here https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/households/sup ... ply-pipes/. We are with South West Water and had a sizeable leak last year which we had to get repaired but we'd used a lot of extra water. South West Water have a policy of giving you a one-off allowance for the additional water but if you have another leak it is down to you. Our refund was approx £100 but a friend had a big leak and the bill for the excess water was over £3k which they wrote off. The moral is to keep a watch on the water meter if you have one!
Regards Keith
 

Rorschach

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Woodchips2":3c5xswn0 said:
Hi Steve,
There is guidance here https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/households/sup ... ply-pipes/. We are with South West Water and had a sizeable leak last year which we had to get repaired but we'd used a lot of extra water. South West Water have a policy of giving you a one-off allowance for the additional water but if you have another leak it is down to you. Our refund was approx £100 but a friend had a big leak and the bill for the excess water was over £3k which they wrote off. The moral is to keep a watch on the water meter if you have one!
Regards Keith
SW water here too. We spotted our leak quickly as we could hear it in the kitchen. While we fixed it we shut it off at the street everyday only turning it on to run water and shower each night, probably only wasted a few quids worth. Saving that one off "write off" for a potential worse leak in the future. :lol:
 

Woodchips2

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Rorschach":34va7esc said:
Woodchips2":34va7esc said:
Hi Steve,
There is guidance here https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/households/sup ... ply-pipes/. We are with South West Water and had a sizeable leak last year which we had to get repaired but we'd used a lot of extra water. South West Water have a policy of giving you a one-off allowance for the additional water but if you have another leak it is down to you. Our refund was approx £100 but a friend had a big leak and the bill for the excess water was over £3k which they wrote off. The moral is to keep a watch on the water meter if you have one!
Regards Keith
SW water here too. We spotted our leak quickly as we could hear it in the kitchen. While we fixed it we shut it off at the street everyday only turning it on to run water and shower each night, probably only wasted a few quids worth. Saving that one off "write off" for a potential worse leak in the future. :lol:
That sounds like a good plan (hammer)
If you have a water meter it doesn't take long to check it monthly but I usually forget :oops:
Regards Keith
 

williams1185

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hi steve ,
if its a shared supply how are you going to get the other users to pay ? it only takes one to say no maybe a good idea to all get together and talk about it . if it means digging up the drive would it be worth while to put stopcocks for each property . again depends on the other property owners it could be a right can of worms . ian
 

RogerS

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williams1185":3pb03is9 said:
hi steve ,
if its a shared supply how are you going to get the other users to pay ? it only takes one to say no maybe a good idea to all get together and talk about it . if it means digging up the drive would it be worth while to put stopcocks for each property . again depends on the other property owners it could be a right can of worms . ian
It's not down to Steve. The leak is under someone else's drive.
 

Doug B

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If you do end up digging up the drive I’d seriously consider running a new separate blue plastic water main to your home steve, I did this when I first moved into our present property with shared supply.
I’m guessing your main is lead & up to a few years ago to my knowledge Severn Trent were reconnecting new supplies that did away with lead foc, all I needed to do was run in the new pipe as per their regs.
My experience of water mains is if it leaks once there’s a good chance they’ll go again, I’ve a customer at the moment who’s main I’ve mended 3 times as he didn’t want a bigger bill when I first suggested replacing the whole main when it first leaked. He’s paid considerably more now & still only has half the length of his water main replaced.
 

Steve Maskery

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Update.
None of us wants a ST bill, which we are told will be >2K.
One of the 6 people who share the drive has had a quote for £600. The other drive-sharers would rather try to fix the problem DIY. I offered to help. We dug a hole, but not deep enough and we did not find the leak.
The other far-ender has a mate who used to work for the water company and offered to fix it. They dug. Then they left the big hole and then refused to do any more. This inconveniences the drive-sharers, but not me directly. Water still comes out of my tap and my drive is dry.
There are ten people who draw water from this supply and I have had to hand over £150 as my share. My immediate neighbours are paying £37.50 each, the others are paying £75 each and £50 each respectively.
Will someone please explain to me how this is remotely just and equitable? The 6 people who share the driveway all have good proper jobs, and yet I am supposed to pay more, a lot more, than any of them. Do houses use water or do people use water?
I'm not a happy chappie.
 

RogerS

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Steve Maskery":1wim2545 said:
Update.
None of us wants a ST bill, which we are told will be >2K.
One of the 6 people who share the drive has had a quote for £600. The other drive-sharers would rather try to fix the problem DIY. I offered to help. We dug a hole, but not deep enough and we did not find the leak.
The other far-ender has a mate who used to work for the water company and offered to fix it. They dug. Then they left the big hole and then refused to do any more. This inconveniences the drive-shares, but not me directly. Water still comes out of my tap and my drive is dry.
There are ten people who draw water from this supply and I have had to hand over £150 as my share. My immediate neighbours are paying £37.50 each, the others are paying £75 each and £50 each respectively.
Will someone please explain to me how this is remotely just and equitable? The 6 people who share the driveway all have good proper jobs, and yet I am supposed to pay more, a lot more, than any of them. Do houses use water or do people use water?
I'm not a happy chappie.

Ask them how they arrived at those figures. If you didn't agree with the £150 then why hand over any money until things were resolved ? I know that's not your style (as you're a nice bloke) but sometimes you have to dig your heels in.
 

Steve Maskery

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The problem is that if there is no agreed solution by TOMORROW, then ST have the right to come in, fix the leak and charge us. They have me over a barrel. They are all stewards who work in a pub.
 

lurker

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Have st said how they will split the bill?
Surely if you all don't pay an equal amount for whatever reason, then the folks would have the leak should pay the lions share.
I'd call their bluff.
 

Steve Maskery

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Not explicitly, no, but we all think it would be property by property, and I'd rather have to fork out 150 than 500+
Too late, I've already handed over the money.
I'm between a rock and a hard place :(
Edit - Wrong emoji!
 
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