Surface water charges for a small flat.

I live in a housing association property, a 3 story block with 3 flats on each floor. My small 2 bedroom flat is on the ground floor but has no garden. There is only myself and my wife living at the property - both approaching retirement age.

My waterbill arrived today, £266 for fresh water, and £241 for 'Waste, surface and highway drainage' - a total of £508 for the year. This is approaching what my wife's employer pays on a small factory unit !

I don't normally speak to my neighbours about bills, but today I found that a couple of them seem to only be paying the 'fresh water' charges. Is it possible Severn Trent are charging me for the surface water charges of the whole block - (and may have been doing this for the 30 years I've lived at this address)?

I contacted ST by phone, but the operator was seemingly incapable of understanding my concerns, simply repeating that the charge was for water shed from 'my roof and drive way'.

Is there someone I can contact to get my bill re-appraised / checked out?



  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,182
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    They're using the same rateable value for both so either you are paying everyone's water and waste or just your own water and waste. More likely the later. 

    UK average bill is circa £450 but that includes those on meters who typically are paying less. a 10% load for non-meter doesn't seem out of the realms of possibility.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Rampant Recycler
    You are paying on your Rateable Value(RV) of £143 for both water, sewerage* and surface water drainage(SWD)**

    * sewerage is termed Used Water by Severn Trent and is the water from toilets/sinks/baths etc
    ** SWD charge is the same for every flat in a block. regardless of it being a 2 storey block or a 50 storey block.

    You are in Zone 1 of Severn Trent's catchment area.

    The 124.5p per £1RV you pay is split 94.87p for sewerage and 29.63p for SWD so as your RV is £143 this means £135.66 for sewerage and £42.37 for SWD

    With Severn Trent you can elect to pay a fixed sum for SWD which varies according to the type of property. For flats in 2024/25 this is £24.78. So you could reduce your bill by £17.59. 

    I find it hard to believe anyone is only paying 'fresh water' charges. The only people who do not pay for sewerage are properties who do not have mains drainage and their water from toilets etc goes into a septic tank - which is unlikely for some flats in a block.

    Of course it is possible that the water from your block of flats goes into a soakaway. In which case you should not pay any SWD charges. The default position is they charge unless you apply for that SWD charge to be cancelled. 

    As a matter of interest you can apply for a water meter. With two of you in a flat with average consumption of 110 cubic metres(m3) pa your charges would be approx £450pa including SWD 
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Rampant Recycler
    If you applied for a meter and one could not be fitted(often happens in older flats) you could apply for an assessed charge which for 2024/25 would be £417.59(including SWD)
  • wtz_44
    wtz_44 Posts: 2
    First Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    I've just checked with the neighbours I spoke to previously. Both of them neglected to mention they pay their bills every 6 months - saying their bill was "about £250" led me to believe that they were only paying half of mine.... obviously not the case when mine is "about £500" a year.

    Still, seems like a hell of a lot, but unfortunately it looks like it's correct.

    Thanks again.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Why don't you apply for a water meter, as already suggested above? If it cannot be fitted, being a flat, you can instead request assessed billing, which is always cheaper than RV billing. Either way, you cannot lose.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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