Surface Water Drainage Services
Surface water is any rain or melt water runoff that collects around your property. To prevent it building up in pools which could lead to problems, various systems are used to drain it away, such as roof and street gutters. Gutters divert surface water into sewage systems, sometimes via effluent pipes in your property. Just as they charge for the water supply coming into your property, water companies also charge for the waste water flowing through their out pipes, as well as for use of their sewers.
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In other words, when it rains, you are charged for the drainage.
However, in many cases the charges levied by water companies are far from an accurate reflection of how much surface water a business needs disposal of. Thousands of organisations are routinely overcharged by fixed, inflexible pricing structures.
Thankfully, H2O Building Services specialises in demonstrating that such overcharging is unfair on a case by case basis, and winning rate reductions and refunds for our clients.
When do I have to pay for surface water drainage?
You will be liable for charges if any of the following apply:
- Surface water is collected and transported via the waste water pipes on your premises. This applies even if the final destination is a public sewer or water course.
- Runoff does not enter the waste water pipes, but ends up in a company-owned sewer.
How are surface water drainage charges calculated?
Different water companies charge for water surface drainage in different ways. The main examples include:
- Calculating all waste water charges, including surface drainage, in proportion to how much water is supplied to the premises. In other words, the more water you use by volume, the more waste water you are assumed to need disposal for. The water supply is metered, but the waste and surface charges are just estimates.
- Charging a flat rate according to a rateable value assigned to the property.
- Fixing a drainage fee according to the area of land a property sits on.
The problem with all of these approaches is that they do not reflect how much surface water is actually disposed of. In most cases, it means businesses are being charged more than if they had their surface water drainage accurately measured.
Reducing surface water drainage costs
H2O Building Services will help you prove to your water company that you are being overcharged for surface water drainage. By accurately calculating surface water flow, our expert water consultants will build a case for reducing charges to reflect actual volumes, and fight to secure you a refund for the years you have been overcharged.
This is how we do it.
1. Send in your water bills
We will ask for copies of historic water bills for each site you want us to investigate. We will need to see the pages that include a breakdown of the charges levied.
2. Water bill analysis
We will analyse your bills to calculate the rate you are being charged for surface water drainage, and the method your supplier is using to calculate it.
3. Water audit
By carrying out a desktop audit of your property, analysing the number of roof gutters and road or path runaways and estimating average rainfall, we will be able to establish a ball park figure for your surface water drainage volumes. We will use this to compare against your bill to see whether there is any serious discrepancy between what you are being charged and what your actual drainage needs are likely to be.
If we feel you have grounds to challenge your surface water drainage charges, we will write to you within 5 days outlining the potential savings we believe you can make, the size of any possible refund and a proposal for our fees for carrying out a site survey and submitting an application to your water company.
With your consent, we will carry out an in-depth site survey to draw up an accurate plan of your property, its guttering systems and the network of company owned effluent pipes and sewage systems. This will be used to support a claim made to your water company, challenging their own surface water charges with evidence of what you actually require, and requesting a reduction and a refund.
The timescale from application submission to response can take from anything between four to six weeks – we are in the hands of the water companies. But the outcome we aim for is a reduction in surface water drainage charges based on the evidence of actual usage we submit, and a refund for historical charges.
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