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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Connecting to mains drains

​​This provides guidance around the correct disposal of foul and surface waters to reduce risks of flooding. It should be used if you're either a:

  • homeowner
  • builder
  • developer

Foul and surface water sewers

Modern homes generally drain into 2 separate sewers. A sewer for foul water and a sewer for surface water.

A foul sewer takes waste water from:

  • toilets
  • washing machines
  • kitchens
  • bathrooms

A surface water sewer takes rain water from roofs and some hard-standing areas. For example:

  • driveways
  • parking areas
  • patios

It may also drain water from the road.

Older properties may drain to what used to be known as a combined system where both foul and surface waters are connected to the same sewer. Due to the increase in flooding incidents further connection of surface water to this type of sewer is no longer allowed in most cases.

Public and private sewers

In most cases public sewers are located in roads or public open spaces. In some areas they cross private land. In these caes, we have a legal right to access the sewer for maintenance purposes. And we're given protection against building taking place over or close to the public sewers.

We keep records of the public sewer system on maps. Copies and extracts of which are available on request. We also hold information on individual property drainage and in some areas have details of private sewer systems. If you're unsure how your property drains you should contact us.

A drain is a pipe through which foul or surface water flows from a property to a sewer.

A private sewer collects and carries foul or surface water from several properties.

In both cases, the owners of the private sewer are responsible for the pipe up to the point where it crosses over into the public area or connects to the public sewer.

There are many private estates in the Island which are serviced by private foul and surface water sewers where the owners are jointly responsible for their upkeep.

Connection to a public sewer

Under the Drainage (Jersey) Law, 2005, you'll require the permission of the Minister for Infrastructure to make a new connection directly or indirectly to a public sewer or alter an existing connection in any way.

New drainage connections to the public sewer system can be provided at cost by GHE Drainage or constructed by one of our specified contractors. Contact us for further details.

Sewer connection application form

Disposal of surface water

Drainage laws require that surface water run-off from all roofed and hard-standing (impermeable) areas must be separated from the foul water drains and private foul sewers.

You're not allowed to connect surface water from impermeable areas to the foul water drain or private foul sewer. It'll not be allowed to flow across any pavement or onto any public road.

If you do not have room for a soakaway system we may allow a connection to a water course or a public surface water sewer if one is available. Restrictions may apply.

Our priority for surface water disposal is to:

  • an on-site soakaway system, permeable paving solution or Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) or a combination of either of these
  • a watercourse possibly with a restricted flow
  • the nearest public surface water sewer possibly with a restricted flow

If your property is close to the beach, the law does not now allow additional surface water to be drained to the foreshore without approval from the drainage section of Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE).

Disposal of foul water

Foul water that drains to the public foul sewers eventually arrives at the Bellozanne sewage treatment works for processing. There is a similar but much smaller plant at Bonne Nuit.

Some properties, mainly in rural areas where there are no public sewers, drain to private drainage systems:

  • septic tanks
  • soakaway systems
  • tight tanks (cesspools) 

These may only be able to connect by the installation of a private pumping system. The drainage section of IHE can offer advice on these systems and the nearest connection point for your property.

If you're unsure as to how your property drains or which connection has been provided, contact the drainage section of IHE for advice.

Contact the Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE)

New drains and private sewers

All new drains and private sewers within the private boundary are required to be constructed in accordance with the Building Bye-Laws (Jersey) 2007 and Building Regulations Approved Document H, 2002. Applications for work in connection with a private drainage system should complete form B5. Contact IHE for further details.

Housing developments

Where larger developments are proposed, the drainage section of IHE may require the developer to fund an upgrade of the nearby sewer system or the downstream public pumping station. If the site previously drained to a combined sewer then it'll be required that the new development must be provided with separate foul and surface water drainage.

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