The sewer system allows rainfall to drain away and helps prevent flooding. But this service is not free, and charges may be substantial. Find out how a surface water survey can save you money.
What Are Surface Water Drainage Charges?
Water companies charge for the service of draining surface water. This means you have to pay for any water that drains into public sewers from your site. However, the calculations made to determine the charges are complex, and inaccuracies are common.
Charges are normally determined according to the size of a property, so the larger your site the more you will have to pay. However, you can receive deductions for areas of your property where natural drainage occurs, since no water drains to public sewers.
Consequently, you have an opportunity to pay lower bills should you take steps to increase areas of natural drainage. This will also reduce stress on the sewer system.
A Surface Water Survey Can Save You Money
Unfortunately, water companies often lack the resources to make the necessary calculations. So they estimate the size of your site and the size of the area chargeable for water drainage.
Frequently, these sizes are overestimated, meaning you could be charged too much for water drainage services.
A surface water survey can help to clear up any inaccuracies and determine exactly how much you should be charged. First, the latest mapping technology examines your site for signs of any potential overcharging. If the results suggest your site may be smaller than the water company’s estimation, or that the amount of natural drainage has been miscalculated, it will then be surveyed to give an exact determination. In some instances, a non-connection can be determined whereby all surface water is found to be draining away naturally, i.e. to a local river. This is where the biggest savings can be made.
Armed with indisputable evidence, including professional drawings, you can then apply to the water company for a refund of any previous overcharges, and ensure you are billed accurately in future. Given the substantial costs involved in water drainage, particularly for larger properties, a surface water survey may represent a sizeable saving.
Other Ways to Save Money
Surface water surveys are not the only way you can save on your surface water drainage costs. Here are a couple of additional options:
• Install a Soakway
A soakway is a man-made hole in the ground that collects rainwater and allows it to drain away naturally. The more surface water you collect this way, the less you’ll have to pay for drainage costs, depending on your water company’s policy.
• Replace Surfaces
If you have surfaces such as asphalt, which do not allow rainwater to soak through, you are adding to your drainage costs. Replacing these with permeable surfaces could save you money – provided the permeable surface isn’t linked to the water company sewer.
But always remember, these changes will only benefit you if your water company’s estimation takes them into account – something that doesn’t always happen.
The best way to make sure you are billed correctly is to get a surface water survey. This will make sure your payments are calculated according to your site’s true specifications, and allow you to reclaim any previous overcharges.