If a property′s wastewater, or sewage pipes are connected to a surface water drain, rather than to the sewer network, it risks polluting local rivers or beaches.
Surface water drains take rainwater to watercourses including rivers, or even beaches, but homes′ wastewater or sewage pipes should connect into the sewers, which go to sewage treatment works. There, the wastewater is treated so that it is safe to return to the environment.
Property owners are urged to contact their water company, local authority or a WaterSafe plumber for advice if they believe their sinks, dishwashers, showers, washing machines or toilets could be wrongly connected.
National Drainage Misconnections Day is run by ConnectRight, the public face of the National Misconnections Strategy Group, a partnership of organisations, including Northumbrian Water, which works to reduce water pollution from drains or sewers. To raise awareness of misconnections, Northumbrian Water will be at Princes Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 5TT from 9am on September 19.
Sally Askew, Sewerage Project Manager at Northumbrian Water, said: "Misconnections represent a real threat to the environment, particularly to our region′s watercourses because they can mean that wastewater is channelled into surface water networks that should really only take rainwater. This means they can flow straight into rivers, becks and burns, or even the sea.
"People should check their pipework, from homes or businesses, even from places such as garages if washing machines or sinks have been installed there, to make sure they are connected properly. This should happen as best practice anyway, but the introduction by ConnectRight of the first National Drainage Misconnections Day is a great opportunity for people to really focus their minds on this potential environmental threat."
Advice on checking for a misconnection is available at http://www.connectright.org.uk/misconnections