Many people are shocked when issued with notices to repair drains that may not even be within the boundaries of their property. Shock can turn to horror when the Council (Auckland City) adds its investigation costs to the cost of the repair. This is an article designed to provide a little insight about how to avoid private drain problems.
You may well ask, “What is a private drain”? A private drain is all drainage systems (sewage and stormwater) constructed privately to service a single or small number of properties. A PRIVATE DRAIN DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ON THE OWNERS PROPERTY. The owner of the property or properties served by the private drain also own the private drain(s). If the drain also lies under other properties, there should be an easement to allow access for maintenance.
The owner of the property or properties served by the private drain is responsible for its maintenance up to and including the connection to the public line. Confusion often arises about who the owner of the drain is if the problem is in a private common line serving a number of cross leased properties. In such instances the owner of all of the properties served by the common line are jointly responsible for all of the costs of maintenance and repair. If no single owner undertakes to organise the repair on behalf of the other owners Council will have its own contractors repair the drain and split the charge equally between the owners. Sometimes the connection point to a public line can be underneath a berm or even a public road. You are responsible for the repair of the drain, even if the source of the problem is underneath the road.
Drainage TV advise it is a good idea to find out where your private drains are and where they connect to the public lines. Also find out the whereabouts of any manholes or inspection points. Knowing where they are and keeping them accessible will make maintenance quicker and therefore cheaper. If there is development going on nearby or around your drain, take particular interest to ensure the drain is adequately protected and that the developers are aware of the whereabouts of the drain.
CCTV drainage inspection is Drainage TV’s speciality. New drains require inspection to determine if they are compliant with regulations and correctly laid, while clients may need to ascertain the condition and location of existing drains, so for more information on smoke testing and private drainage please go to www.drainage.co.nz