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Responsibility for sewer pipes

There are two types of sewers – private and public. Private sewers belong to you, the customer; public sewers belong to us, the water company. In addition, there are highway drains and gulleys that are the responsibility of local authorities.


Sewer responsibilities


Your responsibility

The drainage pipes located within the boundary of your property, beneath your house, garden or driveway, belong to you and are your responsibility. They take away the waste water that flows from your property.

When these pipes reach outside the boundary of your property and connect to pipes serving another property they stop being your responsibility. This is illustrated in the diagram above.

Our responsibility

We are responsible for the large sewers that are normally under the road or pavement. Due to a change in law, in October 2011, the sections of sewers and pipe that you share with neighbours and pipes outside your property boundary, which connect to our existing network, are now our responsibility.
If you think one of our sewers is blocked, you should call at any time of day or night on 0800 783 4444. We’ll arrange for our sewer technicians to check it out.

  • If a public sewer is blocked – that’s one owned by us – we’ll clear the pipe
  • If the problem is in a private drain or private sewer, you’ll need to pay for an independent drain clearing company to carry out any clearance work

What belongs to the council

The highways authority, usually the county council, deals with blocked highway drains and road gullies that are causing surface water flooding. You can find a contact number for your county council highways department in the telephone book or online.

Call the Floodline

Call the Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0345 988 1188 for simple, clear and quick advice on what to do before, during and after flooding in bad weather. You can find more details on the Environment Agency website.