Cross Connections in Passage, Co. Cork

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H1 – A building shall be provided with such a drainage system as may be necessary for the hygienic and adequate disposal of foul wastewater from the building.

H2 – A building shall be provided with such a drainage system as may be necessary for the adequate disposal of surface water from the building.

H3 – No part of a drainage system conveying foul wastewater shall be connected to a sewer reserved for surface water and no part of a drainage system conveying surface water shall be connected to a sewer reserved for foul wastewater.

Above are the three Building Regulations for the design and construction of drainage works in Ireland. The purpose of these Regulations is to provide for the safety, health and welfare of persons and the protection of our environment. They are very broad statements (particularly the first two) which are supplemented by Technical Guidance Document H – Drainage and Wastewater Disposal. Therefore, if works are completed in accordance with this document, that will, prima facie, indicate compliance with these Regulations. However, there is very little other guidance required (you might think) for the third and final Regulation, which simply does not allow cross connections (or mis-connections) in drainage systems. This is where householders and builders inadvertently (I would hope) connect household appliances to the wrong drain, i.e. surface water. On the other hand, surface water entering foul waste water system will increase pressures at sewage treatment plants.

Most properties have two drainage systems – foul wastewater from bathrooms and kitchens and surface (or storm) water from the roofs and driveways. In other words, any dirty water should go to the foul system and any clean water should go the surface water system. Considering that the surface water is drained to local watercourses, the EPA have identified cross connections as a significant contributor to the deterioration of the water environment in our country. Cross connections are deemed an offence under Section 3 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act, 1977, and Section 16(7) of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act, 1977. And, it is up to the homeowner to rectify any cross connections!!!!!

Buildings undergoing renovation works, like this property in Co. Cork, are at most risk of cross connections. The renovation of a garage required the relocation of various appliances. The first cross connection was from a washing machine which was drained to a surface water gully at the corner of the property. The second and third cross connection was where sink waste and condensate from the boiler was drained to a second surface water gully.

If you have any concerns re cross connections, please feel free to contact us and we can survey your drains to ensure that everything is going where it is supposed to go.