Tom Melhuish 8 min read

What is a surface drainage charge and how do I get a rebate?

Across Britain, businesses are charged over £1 billion annually for surface drainage. Our guide explains what you are getting for this additional cost to your business and under what circumstances you can request a rebate from your supplier in regards to a surface drainage charge.

What is a surface drainage charge?

Rainwater falling on your business premise often flows directly into the sewer operated by the local water wholesaler. The rain making its way into the sewerage system will combine with the wastewater produced by your business.

The local water wholesaler is responsible for removing these sources of water from your premises into the wider sewage network where it is collected and treated.
If rainwater falling on your business property makes its way into the sewer, your water supplier can charge you a surface drainage charge.

The way your business is charged for surface drainage depends on your supplier. The supplier will not assess individual properties. Instead, they will estimate the volume of surface drainage based upon the other charges it levies your business and charges this as a fixed annual fee.

Can I get a surface drainage rebate?

If the rainwater falling on your business premises does not flow into the sewerage system, you can make an application for a surface drainage rebate. The service drainage rebate is a reduction in the annual surface drainage fee.

The surface drainage rebate application is made to your local water supplier. It will need to include evidence that rainwater landing on your property does not make it into the sewerage system. Your business water supplier must assess your application and, if successful, will:

  • Reduce or eliminate your surface drainage charges
  • Give you a rebate for past surface drainage charges

The ease of application and the speed at which the application is processed varies significantly from supplier to supplier. The process can become long and frustrating.

Will switching water supplier change my surface drainage charge?

A simpler way to reduce the surface drainage charge is to find out how much, if at all, other suppliers would charge for surface water drainage.

Deregulation in the British water market means that businesses can get a significant reduction in water charges by switching suppliers as well as benefiting from improved customer services.

AquaSwitch can manage the comparison and switching process for your business. As part of this process, we can negotiate reduced fixed charges with prospective water suppliers, like the surface water drainage charge.