Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Pancras, London, Borough of]
§ 7.—DRAINAGE AND SEWERAGE.
Drainage Register.—The following is an analysis of the Drainage Register
Total number of Applications and Plans 898
Number of Applications without Plans 215
Number of Plans 683 898
Plans—Old Buildings, under Notice 454
Plans—Old Buildings, Voluntary 213 683
Plans—New Buildings and additions 16
Revised form for Drain Plans.—In consequence of the By-laws made by the
London County Council under the Metropolis Management Act, 1855, the
Metropolis Management Acts Amendment (By-laws) Act, 1899, requiring
persons about to construct, reconstruct, or alter pipes, drains, or other means
of communicating with a sewer or traps or apparatus connected therewith, to
deposit with the sanitary authority, in duplicate, the plans, sections and particulars
of the proposed construction, etc., being confirmed, a revised form for
the making of drain plans was approved by the Borough Council.
Unstopping of Private Drains.—It frequently happens that an owner or
occupier complains not that the drain but that the sewer is choked, and so the
complaint goes to the Works Department, but it is often found that the drain
is stopped, and so the drain is unstopped by the Council's officers and servants
at the expense of the rates. This practice penalises the owner who does his
own work. It was decided that in all cases where the drain is unstopped by
the Works Department, the owner should pay a fee for the work done, and
that where application is made to the Works Department to unstop a drain
and the work is to be done by the Council's officers and servants the owner be
required to pay the cost.
Combined Drainage.—The position with regard to combined drainage appears
to be as follows:—If a tube, pipe, or conduit carry the drainage of more than
one premises it is de facto a sewer and becomes vested in the local authority,
and thej' cannot divest themselves of the responsibility for its perpetual
maintenance as there is no provision in law to effect this.
On the other hand, if the drainage of one premises be newly discharged
into the drain of a second premises the second drain becomes a sewer, and unless
the local authority take action against the person converting the drain into a
sewer within six months of the offence there is no remedy.
So that the ultimate position appears to be that a sewer cannot be converted
into a drain, as once a sewer always a sewer, whereas a drain may be converted
into a sewer at any moment and at the end of six months after conversion
becomes a sewer in perpetuity.
Proposed Legislation as to Combined Drainage.—Attention was directed to the
fact that when premises within one curtilage are sub-divided into premises
within two or more curtilages the existing drain takes the drainage of more
than one premises. This sub division takes place without the knowledge or
sanction of the Borough Council and subsequently the drain becomes a sewer.