About 50% of properties in England are connected by private sewers to the public sewerage network, but most householders do not realise their responsibilities.
The cost of transfer will be met by an increase in customer bills. DEFRA estimates this will be in the range of £3-11 per year.
The department will shortly consult on how the transfer should be implemented.
Water UK welcomed the announcement as "a positive move that will help streamline repairs and maintenance in the sewerage network, which will in turn provide environmental benefits."