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Here you'll find some common questions and answers we get about misconnections.


If you can't find the answers you need, you can also contact us.

I've had a letter from you, does that mean I've got a misconnection?

Although our investigation has traced evidence back to this general area, it doesn’t automatically mean your property is misconnected.

What happens during the survey?

The survey should usually take around 40 to 60 minutes to complete.


Our team of experienced surveyors will access available manholes and/or drains within your property boundary. They'll ask you to briefly run taps and flush toilets, so we can trace where the foul water drains to and that the connections are correct. This won’t affect your water supply. 


We have a short video which can show you this is more detail.

Do you need to be inside my property?

It's rare we would need to be inside your property, if someone from your household is available to run the taps and flush the toilets. We will need access to the front and rear gardens, yards or driveways, to see where your pipework leads. 

What happens when the survey is finished?

In nearly all cases, we can complete the survey on the day and will be able to tell you the outcome.

If your drainage is fine, and you’d like written confirmation and/or a copy of the detailed drainage drawing to keep for your records, please let our surveyor know.

If your property has a misconnection, we will give you additional information and support on how you can correct this. More details on this are in the prevention and correction section of our website.

Can you recommend someone to do the work?

In the interest of fair trade, we are not able to recommend a contractor to you.


We recommend using recognised search engines for tradespeople and get several quotes.

The drainage has been like this for years. Why has this problem not been found before?

Even if the drainage has been misconnected for a long time, it might not have been previously seen, reported and investigated.

It was done before I bought the house, is it still my responsibility?

As the homeowner, you are legally responsible for correcting any misconnections on your property.

I rent my house, what should I do?

You should make your landlord aware and contact us and pass on your landlord's contact details.

Can Northumbrian Water carry out the work for me?

Unfortunately, we're unable to carry out misconnection corrections on private property.

What support can you provide me?

We can provide advice on ways you could possibly correct the drainage.


We can also provide support to you when meeting with contractors to discuss the works that’s required. If needed, we may also be able to carry out some work to help you locate pipework and/or check the serviceability of it.

How much is this going to cost me?

It's difficult to say, as every job will be different.


As a guideline, most above-ground drainage problems such as rerouting above-ground pipework from a sink or a washing machine could cost less than £100.


More complex alterations, including below-ground corrections, might cost a lot more.

Will my building/drainage insurance cover the cost to fix my misconnected drainage?

Usually your insurance only covers blocked or defective sewers or drains.

Can I have more time to put it right?

We will look at each misconnection on a case by case basis and if you need more time, we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Do I have any legal recourse against the person who made the connection?

We're unable to comment on any legal matters.


However, if you had the work carried out and are able to contact your tradesperson, it may be worth discussing the problem with them in the first instance.

How can I report a problem?

If you think you have a misconnection, or you’ve noticed something in your local environment which could be caused by a misconnection, please contact us, so we can investigate.

What are the other possible effects of misconnections?

Surface water drains are not designed to take anything other than rainwater.


Any waste such as toilet paper may cause blockages, which can lead to sewer flooding, where sewage comes back up through the drains into properties.

Contact us

We’re here to help.


If you’ve had a letter from us and would like to make an appointment, speak to someone to discuss the letter, or just ask us a question, you can contact us on 0345 717 1100. or email us at misconnectionnotifications@nwl.co.uk 


Our teams' office hours are:

  • 8am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and
  • 8am to 3:30pm on Fridays. 

Please note these hours do not include bank holidays.


Our water and sewerage lines are open 24/7, so if you need to speak to us outside of our hours, one of our colleagues will take your details. We'll return your call as soon as a member of the team is available. 


You can also find more ways to contact our teams here.

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