Love Your River aims to engage local people to value their local river and then use and appreciate it. We aim to highlight our impact on the water environment in a positive way to inspire people to change their behaviour and become guardians of their local river. We will achieve this by raising awareness with people of all ages, through public events and our volunteer River Guardians.


The Mersey Rivers Trust works in partnership with local authorities, government agencies, private companies and other charities to improve the River Mersey and its tributaries for people and wildlife. Residents can join in and help to look after their local river or stream by checking the plumbing connections in their home.

Correct Connections

Most houses built after 1920 have two separate sewage systems:

1. Rain falling on your roof or in your garden flows to the local river

2. Dirty water flows through a different set of pipes to a sewage treatment works


A correctly connected house with a separate sewage system

Check Your Plumbing

If your plumbing is not properly connected, dirty water could flow into your local stream or river. This is called a misconnection.


Misconnections can cause water pollution and happen when houses are built, when they are extended or when new appliances are plumbed in.


Correct connections to a dirty water pipe

A dirty water pipe is usually large and often has an air vent on the top, as shown in brown in the diagram to the left. The diagram also shows pipes from a bathroom and a domestic appliance correctly connected to the dirty water pipe.

Meanwhile, the diagram to the right shows two misconnections in red. Pipes, shown in blue, connected to a roof carry rainwater directly to a local river or stream. Pipes carrying dirty water, from a bathroom or a domestic appliance, should not connect to this pipe or to a rainwater drain.


Dirty water pipes incorrectly connected to a rainwater pipe and drain.

If your house was built after 1920 please check your plumbing connections using the Trust’s handy leaflet.

Further information is available from the national Connect Right campaign at A trusted local plumber will be able to help you fix the misconnection. More information about plumbers in your area is available from Water Safe

If you see a serious water pollution incident please report it on the Environment Agency’s hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Facts and figures about misconnections


It is estimated that 500,000 properties in the UK have one or more misconnections.


15% of our rivers are failing water quality standards due to misconnections or sewer related pollution. This problem is especially significant in urban areas such as Greater Manchester.

The most common cause of a domestic misconnection is an incorrectly connected washing machine. This type of misconnection accounts for approx. 35% of all domestic misconnections. 

Find out more from Connect Right at

Contact a local plumber registered with Water Safe at

Report water pollution to the Environment Agency’s Incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.



Mersey Basin Campaign | Resources

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