Adoption of new sewers or pumping stations

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We promote the use of a Section 104 agreement (Water Industry Act 1991) for the adoption of sewers and waste water pumping stations that are to be built as part of a new development.  Sewers and pumping stations must be built in accordance with the current standards*.  As part of this application, you’ll also need to apply for a Sewer Connection (under Section 106 of the Water Industry Act 1991), if you wish to communicate to our existing asset - please click here for more information.

If you would like to offer any newly-constructed sewers and pumping stations for adoption by us as public sewers, our team of Adoption Coordinators will assist in guiding you through the process, and will ensure that the assets meet the required standards.

Alternatively sewers can be offered for adoption to a New Appointee and Variation who can also provide wholesale water and/or sewerage services for a specified area. For more information please see our New Appointment and Variations (NAV). 

Codes for adoption

From the 01 April 2020, Ofwat is introducing a new standard practice across the water industry in England which covers the adoption of newly constructed sewers. The new process is outlined in the Water UK’s new Sewer Sector Guidance (SSG) which will be replacing the ‘Sewers for Adoption’ guidance.

Below is a guide on what you need to do when offering new sewers and pumping stations for adoption, including links to relevant application forms

* (Up until 1 October 2020 we will continued to accept schemes designed to SFA 6th or 7th edition, although 6th, 7th and DCG standards cannot be mixed).

Stage 1a: Pre Planning Enquiry & Stage 1b: Pre Design Strategic Discussion/Assessment

Stage 1a: Pre Planning Enquiry

If you are planning a new development, you’ll need to talk to us in the early stages of planning so that we can avoid delays and provide support and advice on your proposal.

The pre planning process provides the customer with the point of connection for the site they are looking to developer and a budget estimate of the costs of supply them.

The company will provide:
A copy of the public records and a point of connection.
A desktop estimate based on the Developer Services Charging Arrangements
This information will be provided within 21 calendar days of a full application.

Click here to review the process and additional information. 

Stage 1b: Pre Design Strategic Discussion/Assessment

In addition to the above, we also provide a service to developers to review the intricate site-specific details for anything that is proposed for adoption. 

Provision of this information at an early stage will allow us to determine whether the proposal will meet the requirements for adoption and allow us to provide early advice.

The site will not need the benefit of full planning to engage in this process.

Click here to download the application form

Click here to review the process and additional information.

Stage 2: Design of new sewerage system

The Design and Construction Guidance (DCG) is part of the Sewer Sector Guidance document that has now replaced Sewer for Adoption (SFA), see appendix C The DCG sets out the new standards for the design and construction of adoptable foul and surface water systems. 

If you would like to make an application for the adoption of a new sewerage system, you will need to complete Form A1 - S104/S185 initial application and return to us.

Click here to review the process and additional information.

Stage 3: Adoption Agreement & Early Start Inspection

Early Start Inspection
We appreciate that construction work may need to begin before the S104 agreement has been signed by all parties. So not to delay the start of your construction work, you can complete an early start request once you have received technical acceptance and made payment of the S104 fees.

Please complete and return Form A2 – Sewer Adoption Inspection Request and return to us to commence the Early Start Inspection process.

Click here to review the process and additional information for Early Start Inspections.

Adoption Agreement
When you have your technical acceptance from us for your sewerage system design, you will need to enter into a section 104 agreement so we can formally adopt the sewers.

You can enter into a section 104 agreement by either asking us to produce one and providing all the required documents, or letting us know you intend to prepare your own legal agreement. Please see the Model Sewer Adoption Agreement

Please complete and return Form A3 – DCG S104/S185 Adoption Application.

Click here to review the process and additional information for getting an Adoption Agreement.

Stage 4: Construction of sewerage system

Construction of sewers and adoptable assets

Before you start any construction work on the new sewerage system you should complete Form A2 – Sewer Adoption Inspection Request, this will be provided with your technical acceptance.  

Once we have received this and all fees are paid, your Adoption Coordinator will arrange a pre-start site meeting for the new development with our Developer Services Inspector. 

During construction we’ll carry out inspections to check compliance with the S104 agreement. If improper work, materials or variations are found, we will notify the site contact of any defects. 

Once the site is more than 50 per cent occupied and all of the sewerage system construction work is complete, including any pumping stations, our inspector will confirm that the inspection of the system including the SWW CCTV has been carried out and all remedial works have been completed. Once this has been completed the site can progress on to maintenance.

Click here to review the process and additional information.

Stage 5: Maintenance Period

Maintenance Period

Once the sewers have been constructed and any outstanding remedial works are completed, you should complete and return Form A4 - Pre Maintenance Inspection providing the information as required. 

We will arrange for our inspectors to carry out a maintenance inspection to confirm that the works are suitable to go on 12 months maintenance and we will issue the provisional certificate.

Click here to review the process and additional information.

Stage 6: Final Inspection and Vesting

Final inspection and vesting
We will inform you three months before your maintenance period is due to end, you should then check the sewerage system and make sure that there are no maintenance issues. 

When the maintenance period has expired you should complete and return Form A5 – Final Inspection and we’ll arrange for one of our inspectors to carry out the final inspection of the adoptable system, they will advise if any remedial works are required. 

Once all remedial works have been completed to our satisfaction, your Adoption Coordinator will issue the final certificate of completion and the legal vesting of the sewers will take place shortly after.

Click here to review the process and additional information.

Stage 7: Variation of new sewerage system

Variation of new sewerage system

This stage is designed to confirm any variations requested to the design of the sewerage system once technical acceptance has been granted. You will need complete and return Form A6 – Variation of new sewerage system to allow us to complete an assessment of the variation.


This is so we can assess if they are minor and can be recorded on the ‘As Built’ drawings, or if they are major, which will need to be dealt with by a formal re-submission.


Click here to review the process and additional information.

Transition to new Code for Adoption

Ofwat has set 01 April 2020 as the date on which the Sewerage Sector Guidance (SSG) and related documents will come into force.  The SSG has been prepared to meet the requirements of Ofwat’s Code for Adoption Agreements.

Applications before 31 March 2020
1. All application prior to 1 April 2020 will be progressed using the new procedures where practicable and agreed between the parties.

2. Applications received up to 31 March designed to pre-SSG will be accepted at that time

3. After 1 April 2020, we will with developers seeking to vary any schemes that have had previous Technical Approval in order to take advantage of DCG spec.

Applications and enquires on or after 1 April 2020
4. Pre development enquiries and applications made on or after 1 April will be dealt with under the new procedures of the SSG

5. All applications will be processed under the substantive requirements of the SSG unless the following principle applies

6. Applications designed to the standards applicable before 1 April 2020 can continue to be accepted until 1 October 2020

Applications involving SuDS
7. Despite principle 6, all applications submitted after 21 March 2020 seeking adoption of SuDS will need to comply with the DCG

8. Where applications before 31 March 202 seek adoption of SuDS it will normally be advantageous to come to an agreement to follow the requirements of the DGC

Agreement follows standards
9. The agreement used will follow the standards in use on the scheme
      i.e. DCG or Sewers for Adoption (SFA)

Post construction guidance

Our performance

Our minimum standard for delivery will be in accordance with the Water UK Levels of Service.

For further information on these standards and to see our performance please click here.



Although we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our SLP customers, on occasion we may fall short.


Target Timescale (days) 

Form of Redress

Report on the number of written acknowledgements within target  14 Contact from the Developer Services team to agree next steps
Technical vetting - number of applications responded to in the period  28 (note S5.1 is including in this timescale) Contact from the Developer Services team to agree next steps
Technical vetting - number of applications responded to in the period extended by agreement  as agreed Contact from the Developer Services team to agree next steps
Legal agreements sent within period of target.  14 Contact from the Developer Services team to agree next steps

The redress scheme is a temporary arrangement, in line with the requirements of Ofwat's Code for Adoption Agreements. We are working with Water UK and all other companies to determine appropriate and consistent redress arrangements across the sector.

We will update our website on completion of this work.





Contacting the team

On receipt of your application, we will confirm the name of the Adoption Coordinator who will be looking after your project and their direct contact number and email address.

Should you have a general enquiry or wish to escalate an issue please contact:

Alison Smith
Adoption Manager
South West Water
Peninsula House
Rydon Lane
Exeter EX2 7HR

Or email us.

Should you wish to arrange a free call back or make a complaint please click here.

Codes for Adoption

As of Friday 25 October 2019, we received the go-ahead from Ofwat to implement the sector’s new approach to sewer adoption.  The approved documents will appear shortly on Water UK’s website.  The new rules will come into force on 1 April 2020 and we will now be taking steps to ensure that they are ready for implementation.  Part of our implementation plan will involve workshops/sessions to go through what is needed for an application and detail of the process. We will invite you to these nearer the time.

An important element of the new arrangements is the inclusion of certain SuDS as being adoptable if they meet the legal definition of a sewer. The basis of this new approach is explained in the Water UK booklet on the topic, please click here for more information.

All the details behind this development can be found in the Design and Construction Guidance which is part of the approved documentation and which replaces the former Sewers for Adoption series of adoption guides. 

Link to the documents.

As we move forward with this, we will keep you updated on details/workshops etc.

Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly

From 1 April 2020 South West Water became the appointed water and wastewater company for the Isles of Scilly. This means that South West Water took responsibility for existing water and wastewater infrastructure on the islands.


Investing in our region

We believe it is right to support the necessary improvements in water and wastewater services on the islands so that services are in line with standards on mainland UK by 2025 or 2030 in the case of Tresco. This includes the ability to provide new water and sewer connections to the network.


Our wastewater investment will be focused on achieving a reliable wastewater service including being able to cope with extreme conditions, protecting the environment and providing long term benefits to the community.


The balanced investment for each island for water asset improvements will focus on achieving a clean, safe and reliable supply of drinking water.


South West Water appreciate that the island economy is heavily dependent on tourism with over 90% of the islands' income coming from this source. Therefore, our proposed programme of investment will be designed to support and enhance the economy of the islands by improving services and the environment. Once finalised, we will actively communicate with local communities to ensure we work together to deliver improvements in the best way for the communities we serve. Once the asset improvements are delivered to your community we will happily help with applications for new or replacement supplies.


Should you wish to discuss your enquiry further please contact our Developer Services Help Desk on 0800 083 1821.

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