Shared drainage problem

Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby Geranium » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:29 pm

span wrote:
stealth and outflank


Oh good. Time for some fun then.

But first, just to clarify the layout and situation 100% in my mind, can you access the point at which their pipes enter the drain in your property - also, make a stick pen and paper sketch, photo it and put it up here showing the boundaries, entry/exit points of pipes etc.

I'm beginning to wonder what would happen if (by some strange chance) their pipes became, I dunno, "blocked", somehow, before the discharge point into the drain.

Could that happen?



You bad person - I am not stuffing quick setting concrete up their sanitary pipework, or whatever it's called, although I admit that it had crossed my mind. :oops: I immediately dismissed it, though - they'd know it was me!

Yes, I can reach the pipes. They enter my property through the same vertical course of bricks, the top one 15" from the ground, the lower one 7". However, they reach down into the drainage 'ole and leave only about an inch between where they sit and the grate. Does that make sense? (Please don't make me draw anything!!) It would be difficult to get at them, unless I unscrewed the angled bit at the bottom. I had considered the squirty foam stuff that I use for ALL masonry repairs! :mrgreen:

Seriously, I cannot go that route, but it's oh so tempting!

By the way, do you know much about party walls? As part of the renovation, they are installing an internal 'skin' of plasterboard fixed to battens - the assembly will be fixed to a new roof timbers and as far as I ccan tell will not be fixed to the party wall itself. From what I can work out, they are trying to avoid having to issue a party wall notice which may well be one reason they won't address the drainage issue as this would mean digging within 3 metres of my foundations. Anyway, once this internal 'skin' is in situ, is the current party wall - half brick, half glazing - still a pary wall??
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby Geranium » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:32 pm

Collaborate wrote:If it blocks again is there any way in which you can stop it up your side so that the blockage causes their drains to back up too? Or is that logistically impossible?


They haven't got a drain - that's why their pipes come through my wall and connect to the drain under my lean to.

Have I misunderstood you?
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby cleo5 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:11 pm

I am trying to visualise this.
When the pipe/drain was put in there was presumably no lean to there and the drain grating/ cover was in your garden
Otherwise It seems odd having a drain that connects to next door's waste water in your lean to.

The best solution all round would be to have two separate pipeline connections to the main drainage pipe -one for her waste water and one for yours. Couldn't the water board do this? It's just a days work at most.

Do you have a Citizens Advice Bureau anywhere near. They can sometimes be helpful.
It is a nuisance issue and there is a law against that passed in 1993. But to resort to law is NOT an option here.

If the neighbour can afford building work it would be simple enough for his builder to re-route his drain.
Have you asked if he could do this.
Any reasonable council officer would see this as a nuisance.
It seems quite possible that this can all be resolved by getting together(with environmental health officer) and discussing amicably what might be done.
If you block his pipe up then wouldn't that cause a back-up in your own?
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby Geranium » Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:45 pm

cleo5 wrote:I am trying to visualise this.
When the pipe/drain was put in there was presumably no lean to there and the drain grating/ cover was in your garden
Otherwise It seems odd having a drain that connects to next door's waste water in your lean to.

The best solution all round would be to have two separate pipeline connections to the main drainage pipe -one for her waste water and one for yours. Couldn't the water board do this? It's just a days work at most.

Do you have a Citizens Advice Bureau anywhere near. They can sometimes be helpful.
It is a nuisance issue and there is a law against that passed in 1993. But to resort to law is NOT an option here.

If the neighbour can afford building work it would be simple enough for his builder to re-route his drain.
Have you asked if he could do this.
Any reasonable council officer would see this as a nuisance.
It seems quite possible that this can all be resolved by getting together(with environmental health officer) and discussing amicably what might be done.
If you block his pipe up then wouldn't that cause a back-up in your own?



Yes - originally there was one outside drain shared by two cottages. My lean to was erected over the drain cover. and the pipes from the kitchen sink and washing machine next door were routed through the dividing wall and discharge directly into the open drain. The drainage then runs underneath my lean to and connects to the sewer under a right of way that runs across the back of the cottages.

So kitchen drainage is entirely separate from the bathroom (downstairs) - which connects into the sewer and is quite separate from the kitchen drainage. Hard to explain this stuff, isn't it?

The reason I've brought this to a head now is because they are definitely having building work done, and I had assumed (wrongly) that they would sort the problem out by having their own drainage dug under their new extension so that they could connect to the sewer without shoving pipes through the wall into my house and using mine. So like you say, that's the way to resolve it, but they won't do it.

The pipes I would be blocking (if I was wicked like span!!) is the pipework from their washing machine and sink/dishwasher - so it would be water discharge from the appliances themselves which would meet the obstruction.

My head's getting a bit befuddled now. However, I need to have another conversation with Mr Next Door before I work out what my next move is. The work is unlikely to start until the New Year, so there's still time.....
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby despair » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:11 pm

Firstly have the said discharge pipes from washing machine and dishwasher been in situ through your wall for over 20 years

2nd .......there's nothing to stop you somehow causing a temporary intermitant blockage piece of rag /a cork ................anything that causes them to think on a while

Your description of "her next door " leaves me with a very typical picture of typical bully female who gets her own ignorant stupid way with equally subtle bullying husband they always hunt in pairs and pick on those they think are pliable

You really cannot allow this environmental problem continue
far better now to stand your ground and insist its fixed properly

Equally not at all sure their crafty idea of a 2ndary stud wall holding up roof timbers will pass muster

They need to be reminded that all alterations to their property will need to be documented on a sale and that will likely need them to get retrospective building regs anyway
You are merely standing up for your rights and protecting your own investment and environment stop worrying about their response and trying to live in peace that's what they want because they are cheapskates who think they can push you around
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby Geranium » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:56 pm

despair wrote:Firstly have the said discharge pipes from washing machine and dishwasher been in situ through your wall for over 20 years

2nd .......there's nothing to stop you somehow causing a temporary intermitant blockage piece of rag /a cork ................anything that causes them to think on a while

Your description of "her next door " leaves me with a very typical picture of typical bully female who gets her own ignorant stupid way with equally subtle bullying husband they always hunt in pairs and pick on those they think are pliable

You really cannot allow this environmental problem continue
far better now to stand your ground and insist its fixed properly

Equally not at all sure their crafty idea of a 2ndary stud wall holding up roof timbers will pass muster

They need to be reminded that all alterations to their property will need to be documented on a sale and that will likely need them to get retrospective building regs anyway
You are merely standing up for your rights and protecting your own investment and environment stop worrying about their response and trying to live in peace that's what they want because they are cheapskates who think they can push you around



1. Discharge pipes - yes, well over 20 years

2. I know there's nothing to stop me bunging up their pipes but I will exhaust other avenues before I resort to sabotage! I don't want to be responsible for causing criminal damage either, thank you very much! :mrgreen:

3. Her next door is scared stiff of me - she's been on the wrong end of my tongue for meddling with my garden which NOBODY does! :evil:

But yes, I am extremely pliable because if there is a way to work a problem out I will look for it - after all, it's the intelligent, reasonable thing to do. It's not difficult to fathom what Mrs Next Door has in her mind at any given time - she's intermittently frightened of me, but then unfailingly takes any neighbourly or friendly acts as a sign of weakness and will then try to take advantage. She's quite simple really, but ultimately if needs be I can be utterly recalcitrant.

However we are not at that point yet. This is still very early days, which is why I came here to take advantage of a lot of informed opinion and differing points of view. It's always a good read on this forum.

4. I couldn't care less if their stud wall passes muster - if it actually serves to legally detach them from the party wall (I've been Googling looking for this) would this mean they can't drill back through to discharge their foul water into my drain?

5. Again, don't care what effect their new extension has on their ability to sell - I'm much more likely to move before they do.

6. The environmental issue - I will seek advice and information and keep that up my sleeve (assuming it's in my favour!).

I have to keep negotiating, Despair - if and when times get desperate at that point I'll take desperate measures. :wink:
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby despair » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:19 pm

In which case you need to get Environmental Health officer firmly on your side in black and white and present her next doors with a fait accompli
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby Geranium » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:30 pm

despair wrote:In which case you need to get Environmental Health officer firmly on your side in black and white and present her next doors with a fait accompli


Yes - that's a good idea.

For the sake of a little levity, in the middle of a petulant little rant by Mrs Next Door earlier this week - which I kept interjecting with "Calm down, calm down" - I turned to her and asked in very earnest, solicitous tones "Are you premenstrual this week by any chance?".

:mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby cleo5 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:46 pm

You have explained it all very clearly.

I agree with despair that you cannot let this go on any longer. It is unacceptable on grounds of health and safety and nuisance. Yuk ! you don't want their washing up water and whatever else in your lean- to contaminating/ rotting your lino. Bill them for the cost of new lino and water damage if it happens again as well as for rubber gloves, bleach and drain cleaner. It is a health risk. There's a lot of harmful bacteria in kitchen sinks these days and even in washing machines.


Can you arrange for a council official/ building inspector or whoever to visit asap and give his opinion on the matter.

IMHO I don't think you should block it even if you could because as you've said "they will know it's me" and then they will have cause for grievance if they flood and it might cause you more aggro.

I just cannot think that pipe arrangement is approved by the water board. Have water board chap come out and check it. Water board have plans of pipes and drains in many cases but not all.


It is causing overflow now so obviously the present piping is inadequate. It will only get worse as they add more appliances. Can you try to explain this to them or maybe write a letter and keep a copy.
New year will soon be here. No time to waste. That type do whatever they want regardless until authority steps in.
I do hope it is all resolved before too long.
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby despair » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:17 pm

Fight fire with fire is often the only way fwd but I agree get E H and Water Co onside in black and white FIRST
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby jonahinoz » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:34 pm

Hi Geranium.

My understanding is that waste water flows from your neighbours house, onto your property, connects with your waste water drainage, then continues until it connects with a public drain. I believe that, all else being equal, the waste water drains become the responsibility of the Water Authority at the point that the two drains merge into one. I hope an expert can confirm that. I do not know if having the connection under your floor makes any difference. I'm thinking that if, next time there is a blockage, you asked the Water Authority to come and unblock it for you, maybe they would read the Riot Act to your neighbours.

You say that you can put your hand into the pipe? I'd guess that makes it 3" (75mm) or 4" (100mm). I don't see how something that can pass through a 32mm or 40mm sink drain can block a larger bore drain .... unless it was an accumulation of fat. Anybody able to comment? I would expect the extra water from washing nappies to flush the drain clean, not block it. However, if there is a blockage further downstream, it could restrict the flow, making it back-up ... but it should flow away eventually.

IF ... repeat IF ... this problem has started since the arrival of a baby, I would wonder if your neighbours are now flushing away things that they didn't flush away previously. I trust that you are wearing rubber gloves when clearing the blockages. Your Water Authority will have a camera on a stick for looking down drain holes. You could ask them to analyse the water in your drain.

Er ... I am uncertain about whether your neighbour is discharging grey or foul water into your drain. ???

You say that neighbours have up-dated their drains. Is it possible that in doing so, they have blocked your drain? I have known developers to cut a drain while excavating, and build a wall across the end. Not their problem. A Water Authority camera will soon reveal if that is the case.

At the moment YOU have the Moral High Ground. You could lose that by damaging your neighbours pipe work ... unless it was to prevent immediate damage to your property ... maybe. B&Q will sell you compression fitting ( ie-tighten by hand) STOP ENDS to fit 32mm and 40mm waste pipes. A plumber's merchant should be able to advise on how to block a 3" or 4" soil pipe ... probably not cheap.

Does anybody know if any grant's are available for "sub-standard" bathrooms?

In Days of Yore, a mandatory grant could bring with it a host of improvements. But you might need to take a few days holiday.

The problem will not go away until you do something. Of course, you could ask your neighbour to help a "poor old lady" .... by coming to unblock her drain. And in the mean time, not to release any more water.

John W
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby span » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:06 pm

Expanding foam is your solution. The neighbours solution to it? Up to them.

<shrug>
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby arborlad » Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:12 pm

Geranium wrote: Next door’s pipework for washing machine, dishwasher and kitchen sink cuts through the party wall and discharges into the drain inside my property.



The greatest villain of the peace here is almost certainly the dishwasher and your ending up with congealed fat and foodstuffs in the gully where the pipework discharges, any old system is going to suffer when a dishwasher is connected to it. It could be that slightly modifying their habits by removing all foodstuffs and fats before anything goes into the dishwasher might make a significant difference.
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby despair » Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:11 pm

Somehow doubt these neighbours are prepared to modify anything
its not only dishwashers that create blockage washing machines with too much powder added do too

Old drainage systems are simply not capable of coping with modern conveniences sadly the law has not caught up with the situation leaving receiving neighbour on the end of a dilemma
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Re: Shared drainage problem

Postby pilman » Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:02 pm

The drainage pipe that passes under the neighbour's house is a private sewer.
The point where that pipe passes the boundary between the two properties is now the start of the public sewer to be maintained by the local sewerage authority.

You do need to conatct that sewarage authoru ity to explain the situation becaus eit is now their responsibility to deal with the matter of a blockage.

This web-site sets out all the facts following the change to the law regarding compulsory adoption by the sewerage authorities. The first diagram appears to show the situation you are now in.
http://www.addleshawgoddard.com/view.as ... nt_id=2237
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