What is a Domestic Misconnection?
A misconnection is where a foul (wastewater) pipe from the house, e.g. toilet or a washing machine, is mistakenly connected to the stormwater (rainwater) drainage pipe, thereby causing pollution to enter the local river.
Who is the DURL Project?
The DURL Project is a collaboration between Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) and South Dublin County Council (SDCC), with 50% funding provided by the EU LIFE Programme. SDCC is the project lead.
Why is the DURL Project carrying out this work?
The Dublin Urban Rivers Life (DURL) Project aims to address the issue of pollution from domestic misconnections in the River Griffeen in South Dublin County Council and the Carrickmines Stream in Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council using a variety of techniques, including calling to selected private houses in both catchments to find domestic misconnections. This work will improve water quality in your area and will make a big improvement to the health and aquatic biodiversity of the local river.
How can I identify the DURL Project staff?
There will typically be two staff (called Stormwater Assessors) per team calling to selected private houses to find domestic misconnections. The Stormwater Assessors will carry large DURL Project ID cards to present to homeowners/tenants. The Assessors will also carry with them an electronic tablet and clipboard or notepad, to record their work, and some small hand tools to assist them with their work. At present, they do not have a DURL Project logo on their vans, but all vehicles are electric Renault Kangoos.
How much access to my property is needed?
DURL staff will be adhering to the Council’s COVID-19 standard operating procedures and will assess the drainage around the outside of the house. For properties where no side access is provided, where permitted, DURL staff will enter the house to assess drainage at the rear of the house. In the instances where access is required through the home, typically for terraced houses, DURL staff will work in a safe manner and will wear shoe covers whilst indoors. Staff may ask the homeowner/tenant to run a tap or flush a toilet to help with their work. If homeowners are reluctant about the Stormwater’s identity, they can phone Co. Hall at (01) 4149000 to double check before proceeding.
What is involved in an assessment of the drainage at my house?
The Stormwater Assessors will check the drainage pipes around the outside of the private house to ensure that a foul (wastewater) pipe is not mistakenly connected to the stormwater (rainwater) drainage pipe. Assessors may open lids, check gullies and rain water pipes, pour water down gullies, and occasionally they may pour colour tracing dye down a drain to identify if there is a misconnection.
How long will the assessment take?
The check will typically last 15 minutes and is conducted by the Stormwater Assessors around the outside of your house in a COVID-19 safe manner. The Stormwater Assessors will be able to confirm for you if any action needs to be taken and will advise of the next steps.
Can the assessment be carried out when a householder is not there?
It is preferable that the homeowner/tenant is present when the Stormwater Assessors carry out the assessment, however if permission is given by the homeowner/tenant the Stormwater Assessors can carry out the assessment in their absence. However, the preference is to make the assessment in the presence of the homeowner/tenant.
Can the assessment be carried out outside a weekday?
Stormwater Assessors typically carry out the assessments during a weekday however they can facilitate assessments on some Saturdays. This can be discussed with the Stormwater Assessor.
Why is my house being assessed and not my next-door neighbour’s house?
A considerable amount of work has already been carried out to identify clean and polluted stretches of stormwater drainage pipes in housing estates in SDCC and DLRCC. This work, combined with mapping techniques, has allowed the DURL Project to identify rows or clusters of housing that are more likely to have a domestic misconnection. This work has identified a considerable number of houses that are less likely to have a domestic misconnection. This ‘less likely/more likely screening process’ helps to speed up the work of the project and give more value for money when finding domestic misconnections. Where the DURL Project considers a house is unlikely to be misconnected, the Stormwater Assessors may not call to that house. The Stormwater Assessors may return to some housing estates to make assessments on other houses if they think not all domestic misconnections were found.
What happens if a misconnection is identified?
The Stormwater Assessors will be able to confirm if any action needs to be taken and will advise of next steps to ensure that the misconnection is corrected, and pollution removed from the local river.
Could it be an Irish Water Problem?
Irish Water is responsible for the supply of clean drinking water. Irish Water pipes also carry the foul water from the edge of the homeowner’s property to the sewage treatment plant for treatment and are therefore not responsible for stormwater (rainwater) drainage pipes. The quality of stormwater is the focus of the DURL Project.
Is the Local Authority responsible for the drainage problem?
The Local Authority is typically responsible for the stormwater (rainwater) drainage from the public road to the local river. The homeowner is responsible for their home having correct connections to the foul and stormwater pipes and that only rainwater from their roofs, paths and driveways is going into the stormwater drain.
Why is there a 6-week timeframe to correct misconnection?
In general, the Stormwater Assessors have found that most correction works require minor pipe adjustments that are carried out within a short period of time. However, to give a reasonable period the 6 weeks’ timeframe is set to ensure compliance with the Water Pollution Act.
Who can fix my misconnection?
The homeowner or a tradesperson can make the repairs. The main consideration if the homeowner makes the repair, is that they make the repair to a quality that meets building standards.
Who pays to correct the misconnection?
The homeowner pays for the upkeep of their property including any misconnection repairs.
Is a grant available to homeowners?
A grant is not currently available. Feedback to the DURL Project from homeowners, who repaired misconnections, is that repairs are affordable.
How will my personal information be stored?
If a house is misconnected the Stormwater Assessors will only then ask the homeowner for their contact name and telephone number. The purpose of this is to allow contact with the homeowner to arrange a call back when repairs are made. They will not ask for any financial details, money or other personal information as the project does not require such information.
What photos will be taken at my house?
If there is a misconnection, photos will only be taken of the relevant drains, pipes or manholes. During some assessments garden furniture/plant pots etc. may need to be moved if they are covering a drain which needs to be accessed. In these cases, the DURL Stormwater Assessors will ask the homeowner/tenant for permission to take photos of before and after moving the items to ensure they are placed back in the same condition.
Is the DURL Project compliant with GDPR requirements?
The DURL Project has created a privacy statement to demonstrate the firm commitment to privacy and the security of the personal data provided and a copy of the privacy statement is provided to the homeowner/tenant at the time of the domestic misconnection assessment.