Working on or near our assets

We’re committed to operating our network of water and wastewater pipes in a safe and reliable way, with the minimum of inconvenience to our customers. 

So, if you're planning works anywhere in the North West, before you start, please read the information below to check if it could affect our network. We can then work with you to help make sure your work goes smoothly.

Information on location of water and wastewater pipes

For companies that need to dig in the public highway there are maps available which show the location of clean water pipes and sewers. This information is restricted and you will need to apply to get access, please go to Maps for Safe Dig.

If you're a member of the public or a developer and you’d like information on drainage and water mains near or on your development, you can buy local maps. These are offered by a number of companies including United Utilities, if you would like to buy a plan from us please see our Property Searches service.

Below is general information on working near our assets and the precautions you need to take. There is also further information if you are carrying out CCTV work on sewers and/or manholes.

  • General conditions and precautions

    If you're planning significant work near our assets, it's important that you take precautions to minimise any risk of damage. We need to be sure that any activities taking place near our assets do not interfere with the service we provide to our existing customers.

    See our factsheet General conditions and precautions to be taken when carrying out work adjacent to United Utilities water distribution apparatus (PDF 46KB opens in new window).

    These conditions and precautions apply to the public sewerage, water distribution and telemetry systems. Please be aware that causing damage to our water mains or sewers is an offence under Section 174 of the Water Industry Act.

  • Low risk CCTV non-man entry

    If you need to carry out any investigation or CCTV survey work on the public sewer system where it is less than 7m in depth, with a straight vertical access, and is non-man entry, it will be classified as a low risk activity.

    All of United Utilities’ sewers come under the ‘Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations’ (DSEAR) and are classed as zone 2. As a result, all CCTV survey equipment that is used within the sewers needs to be intrinsically safe (Ex rated), so it does not ignite in a potentially explosive atmosphere.

    All United Utilities’ sewers are classified as confined spaces from the point of entry, so personnel working in the public sewer network must hold current confined space training certificates.

    All work within any United Utilities’ sewer network is to be carried out between 08:00 – 16:00 hours on normal working days.

    Operational issues

    In the event that the camera unit becomes stuck, snagged or irretrievable, do not enter the public sewer network, you must call 0345 3723223 to report the problem. We will arrange for a United Utilities operative to attend site to assess the situation.

  • CCTV work on high risk sewers

    High risk entry covers any investigation or CCTV survey work on a United Utilities’ sewer that has:

    • A manhole greater than 3m in depth, with a multiple stage landing or non-standard entry
    • Is greater than 7m in depth 
    • Requires a traverse within the sewer.

    Before you can carry out any work on a high risk sewer network you will need to obtain an approval notice, to apply for this you will need to complete a Request for Permission to Work on a Public Sewer (CCTV/Investigation High Risk) Form (PDF 284KB opens in a new window). Please note it can take up to 10 working days for the request to be authorised so please allow for this in your plans.

    Before starting work each day, you must log-on to the sewer network by calling 07826 539459 and provide a valid connection reference number (this will be on the approval notice), together with the contact details for staff that will be working on the site. When you've finished working on the sewer you must log-off by calling the same number.

    All work within any United Utilities sewer network is to be carried out between 08:00 – 16:00 hours on normal working days.

Damage to a United Utilities' asset?
If you suspect you might have, or are sure you have, damaged one of our assets, please contact us urgently on 0345 672 3723 (24-hours-a-day).

Contact us
If you need support or information when crossing or working near to United Utilities' assets, call us on 0345 672 3723 (24-hours-a-day).