Conveyancing Searches

Drainage and water searches

Our drainage and water searches provide homebuyers with information about water and sewerage connections.

CON29DW Residential

Launched by The Law Society in 2002, the CON29DW Residential is an essential part of the conveyancing process.

Our CON29DW Residential report provides the details a homebuyer needs regarding water and sewerage connections on their proposed property and protects them from unnecessary risks and potential costs in the future. The report is created from water company data, ensuring integrity and complete information. This means homeowners can rely on our CON29DW Drainage and Water Search and are not dependent on insurance for future peace of mind. The CON29DW Residential offers full protection for homebuyers and their legal advisers against any unnecessary risk.

25 crucial questions
Developed in consultation with The Law Society
Identifies risk
Complete and guaranteed information
Consistent approach
Expert interpretation
Regularly updated
Ready to order?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a highway drain?

A highway drain is a pipeline owned by the Highway Authority, which carries surface water from the adoptable highway (roads and footpaths).

What is a drain?

A drain is a pipeline within the property owner’s curtilage which carries sewage and/or surface water runoff solely from that owner’s property.

What is a lateral drain?

A lateral drain is a pipeline outside the property owner’s boundary which carries foul sewage and/or surface water runoff from that owner’s property.

Who do I contact in Anglian Water to arrange a connection?

To arrange connection of your property to the public sewer, please complete the application form found at the Developer Services section of the Anglian Water website or phone 0345 60 66 087.

Do I need a buildover agreement?

If you are planning an extension to your property or the construction of a new building you will need to establish whether there are any public sewers within three metres of the proposed works. If there is a sewer within three metres please refer to the guidance on the Developer Services section of the Anglian Water website - Building Over/Near. Approval will be required from Anglian Water and/or Building Control before work commences. A legal agreement will only be necessary under certain circumstances.

What is the private sewer transfer?

From 1 October 2011 private sewers and lateral drains which were connected to Anglian Water’s existing network on 1 July 2011 transferred into public ownership and therefore fell under Anglian Water’s ownership and responsibility.

What liability do property owners have in relation to their private connections?

Anglian Water is responsible for public sewers and lateral drains whereas property owners have responsibility for recycled water pipes that are situated within their boundary, such as beneath the property, garden and driveway, that take away the flows from their individual property.

Are Section 104 sewers shown on the plans, even though these are private?

Yes, we show the position of Section 104 sewers on the plans as the intention is these will be adopted by Anglian Water. Please note, sewers marked ‘S104’ may not yet be constructed, be under construction or may be fully constructed.

Will all sewers be shown on the plans I purchase?

No, the public sewer map will show public sewers, disposal mains or lateral drains. However, on 1 October 2011, private sewers and lateral drains were transferred into public ownership therefore there may be additional public sewers or lateral drains which are not recorded on the public sewer map.

What is a Section 104 sewer adoption agreement?

Section 104 agreements are agreements made to adopt sewers, drains or water recycling works, at a future date. The agreement is generally made between a sewerage undertaker and any person proposing to construct a sewer or sewage disposal works. The most common occurrence of this is in the case of a developer building a new housing development. The agreement states that if the sewer or works are constructed in accordance with the terms of the agreement, the undertaker will, upon completion of the work, at some specified date or on the happening of some future event, declare the sewer or works to be vested in that undertaker.

How do you get a Section 104 agreement?

In order to put forward a sewer for adoption, you need to complete an application form and send it to the sewerage undertaker for the area (e.g. Anglian Water), ensuring that your application accurately describes your proposal and that all required documentation is provided. The completed application form and associated information/drawings will be used to complete the technical vetting of your submission and to prepare the adoption agreement under Section 104 of the Water Industry Act 1991. Following construction, and once the majority of properties have been occupied the sewers will be inspected and a provisional certificate will be issued. A maintenance period will then follow (this will be a minimum of 12 months) and there will then be a final inspection before the final certificate is issued. Any agreement made under Section 104 by a sewerage undertaker shall be enforceable against the undertaker by the owner or occupier for the duration that the premises is served by the sewer or works.

Where can I obtain a copy of the Section 104 agreement?

To obtain a copy of the agreement you will have to contact the original developers of the property. A ‘status letter’ outlining the agreement details can be obtained from Developer Services, however, there is a small charge for this service.

Why hasn't the sewer been adopted?

You will need to contact the original developers as it is their responsibility to ensure that the sewers are adopted. They should contact Anglian Water to conclude the adoption process.

Where do I go if the developer no longer exists?

If you are unable to contact the developer, please contact Developer Services on 0345 606 6087, who may be able to advise you on the status of the adoption. If the developers have gone into liquidation and the Section 104 agreement cannot be concluded you may apply for Anglian Water to adopt the sewers under Section 102. All owners of properties that drain into the sewer should agree with this and there are costs associated with this.

What is a section 104 bond?

A bond is a surety in the form of either a guarantee by a bank (or other suitable institutions) equivalent to 10% of the cost of the works to be undertaken in accordance with the Section 104 agreement, or the deposit for an equivalent sum made with Anglian Water Services Limited.

What is a bond waiver?

Subject to a successful financial assessment, Anglian Water will allow companies to waive the Section 104 bond. To be included on the bond waiver list, please forward your latest annual audited accounts to Developer Services.

What is section 102 of the Water Industry Act 1991?

Section 102 of the Water Industry Act 1991 deals with the adoption of existing private sewers, pumping stations and sewage treatment plants. There are a number of reasons that sewers may remain un-adopted, but the most common reason is that they have not been offered for adoption during construction. A sewer that was, at one time, of the required standard but is in a state of disrepair due to age, and perhaps neglect, could be restored to an acceptable standard but this would cost money. The owners of the sewer, who are usually those whose properties are served by it, would undertake to meet the cost of the necessary repairs following which adoption becomes possible. There are sewers where the cost of the necessary repairs will be more than the owners are prepared, or able, to meet. The local authority in its public health role has powers that it can use to carry out urgent repairs. However, the cost of such repairs would be recovered from the owners of the sewer. A practical way forward is for the house owners, whether legally the sewer owners or not, to form together and appoint representatives to act on their behalf. If there is a resident’s association this is relatively easy. The representatives can then ask the water and sewerage provider to make a declaration to adopt a sewer under Section 102 of the Water Industry Act 1991. Before adopting the sewer, notification must first give notice to the owner(s) of the sewer. Only after two months have elapsed and no objections raised, may we adopt the sewer. Subject to this and any legal formalities (e.g. transfer of land for pumping station and right to discharge surface water to a watercourse) we will make a declaration of vesting, which completes the adoption.

What is a pumping station?

Sewer pumping stations move wastewater to higher elevations in order to allow transport by gravity flow.

Will my pumping station be adopted?

If your station serves two properties or more, it was installed and pumping before 1 July, 2011 and it pumps to an existing Anglian Water main then yes it is eligible to transfer. A pumping station which serves a single property is exempt from the transfer and will generally remain private unless it is situated in third-party land. Main industrial or commercial pumping stations will remain privately owned too on the basis that they are situated on a single site in what is deemed to be a single curtilage.

What are SuDS?

SuDS are an alternative way to manage surface water by reducing or delaying rainwater run-off. They aim to mimic the way rainfall drains naturally rather than conventional piped methods which cause propblems such as flooding, pollution or damage to the environment. Anglian Water promotes the use of SuDS as a sustainable and natural way of controlling surface water run-off.

In the drainage and water report, what does the abbreviation that is used to describe the location of the water meter mean?

Question 3.7 of the CON29DW provides location details of any water meter serving the property. Historically these codes have been put together by the meter readers, who often use abbreviations to record this location. Get in touch if you need help interpreting this information.

Question 23 of the CON29DW states that the property failed to meet the standards of water quality, what does this mean?

Anglian Water records test results by postcode zones to monitor the quality of the water. A sample of properties in each zone is tested and if one of these properties fails, then the whole zone is recorded as a failure. The owners of the property that failed will receive a letter informing them of the problem and, if relevant, notification of any corrective action required. Anglian Water investigates all infringements of drinking water quality standards thoroughly and takes appropriate corrective actions to resolve problems promptly. If there is any risk to public health from the quality of drinking water supplied, the Company informs customers immediately and advises them not to drink the water until the risk has been removed. For more detailed information, visit and select ‘drinking water quality’ from the menu. This will enable you to search for the water quality test results for your postcode area.

What if the connection status does not seem to be correct on my search?

Please get in touch straight away so we can look into it for you. If you have any evidence to support your concern and can send us a copy then this may help speed things along. We will always investigate any claims that the data we use for our searches may be incorrect or needs updating, and if proven we will arrange for the records to be corrected and an updated search will be dispatched.

If the search identifies that the property is connected to the mains and the billing information is updated, will Anglian Water back date the charges?

If it is determined that the property is connected to the mains, Anglian Water may back date the charges for the previous 12 months.

What is sewage?

Sewage is a flow of domestic or industrial recycled water.

What is a sewer?

A sewer is a pipeline which normally carries sewage and/or surface water runoff from more than one property.

What is the sewage network?

The sewer network is the 'system' that collects and carries sewage ie sewers, pumping stations and rising mains to treatment.

What is water recycling?

Anglian Water have recently renamed its Wastewater Services and it will now be called Water Recycling Services. They’re making this small but important change to lead the way in changing perceptions about water and how we use it. No water is ‘waste’ water, it’s a precious resource that we borrow, use, clean and carefully recycle to use again and again.

What did not transfer on 1 October. 2011?

Exceptions to the transfer include:

  • Septic tanks, cess pits and private sewage treatment plants private sewers and lateral drains connected to septic tanks, cess pits and private sewage treatment plans
  • Surface water sewers which drain directly into soakaways, water courses/ditches or highway drains
  • Sewers, lateral drains and pumping stations within single curtilage
  • Pumping stations and rising mains will transfer over a five year period between October 2011-October 2016 (however sewers upstream of private pumping stations did transfer)

For full details of the transfer, see The Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private Sewers) Regulations 2011.

I am building an extension, who do I need to contact?

You can first purchase plans from digdat, our online mapping service, and then consult the Developer Services web page - Building Over/Near.

I am a developer, where can I obtain information regarding water or recycled water services?

You can first purchase plans from digdat, our online mapping service, and then consult our Developer Services team.

Who do we contact for Section 104 queries?

For any queries relating to Section 104 adoptions, please contact Developer Services on 0345 606 6087.

What was a Section 24 sewer?

A sewer which was laid pre-1937 and serving two or more properties was referred to as a Section 24 sewer. These are already the responsibility of Anglian Water.

Where can I find further information about the transfer?

For properties in the Anglian Water region, a dedicated page can be found on their website.

Further information on pumping stations and responsibilities for pipework can be found on the OFWAT website.

Have a different question?

Speak to our friendly team.

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CON29DW Commercial

Endorsed by The Law Society, the CON29DW Commercial is an essential part of the conveyancing process for commercial property and development transactions. It provides information a commercial buyer needs regarding water and sewerage connections on their property or land purchase and protects them from unnecessary risks and costs in the future.

The CON29DW Commercial is created from water company data, ensuring integrity and complete information.

Backed by a £10 million liability cover, the CON29DW Commercial contains all the information necessary to protect the buyer from unnecessary risks and costs in the future. The criteria for ordering this product varies by water company region. In the Anglian Water region, the report covers sites up to ten hectares.

Developed in consultation with The Law Society
Covers up to 10 hectares
Comprises 27 standard questions aligning with the CON29DW Residential report
Mitigates the risk without the need for insurance with guaranteed indemnity levels provided
Interpreted by experts using trusted drainage and water data direct from source
£10 million liability
Ready to order?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for the maintenance of the sewers if they are not yet adopted?

Until Anglian Water adopts the sewers, the developer remains responsible for maintenance.

Have a different question?

Speak to our friendly team.

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CON29DW Commercial Plus

The CON29DW Commercial Plus has been designed for larger development sites up to 220 hectares (mapped to fit on A3 1:5000 plan*), commercial properties with multiple billing accounts and high-value commercial transactions.

Up to three properties / industrial units in the same area can be included and buyers can benefit from a higher liability cover of up to £10 million.

Currently only available for sites within the Anglian Water region.

*a further fee may be applicable for those areas that we are unable to map on an A3 landscape 1:5000 plan.

27 crucial questions
Identifies risk
Complete and guaranteed information
Consistent approach
Expert interpretation
Regularly updated
Up to £10m liability
Ready to order?

New Build Drainage and Water Report

The Geodesys New Build Drainage and Water report contains answers we know, to questions regarding water and sewerage connections on a newly built property. It focuses on all the information necessary to protect buyers from unnecessary risks and potential costs in the future, where any details about the property are known.

This report has been tailored with a new build property in mind, but still offers full protection for home buyers and their legal advisors against any unnecessary risks.

Currently this bespoke product is only available in the Anglian Water region and for residential properties classed as new build.

Contains 17 relevant questions
Currently only available in the Anglian Water region
Four pages of top tips for owners of new build properties
£5m PI liability cover
Ready to order?

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