In My Area

Reporting a problem

If you have a problem with your water supply, your waste water or even if you spot a leak while you're out and about, we'd like to know about it so we can get it fixed as quickly as possible.

We really appreciate you taking the time to tell us about any problems - it helps us find and fix them quickly.

Step 1

Know what's going on

Before you report your issue, it's important that you're fully up-to-date with what's happening in the area.

Your problem may have been reported already and our teams may be working on it.

 

Step 2

Know your problem

A problem with your water supply or waste water is never pleasant. Sometimes the solution can be complex, other times you may be able to fix it simply yourself.

Know the steps that you can take before you need to let us know.

 

Your water supply

Supply and pressure

The most common causes for supply interruptions are bursts, home plumbing problems and network issues, including:

  • an unseen, internal or external leak
  • an air lock or blockage in the pipework
  • faulty plumbing work

 

Your flow can also be affected by:

  • high demand in the morning and early evening
  • the size and condition of your service pipe
  • the height of your building

 

If you're on a shared supply pipe, the number of neighbours that are also supplied by the same pipe can affect your water pressure.

There are some tests you can carry out at home to check for leaks that may be hidden from view.

Your pressure issues could also be related to an air lock or blockage in the pipe work. You can try to clear the blockage by turning the cold tap nearest your internal stop tap fully on and then turn your internal stop tap off and on 7-8 times in succession. If the problem continues after that, you should contact a plumber to investigate.

If you've had some plumbing work done in the last 48 hours, it could have caused a change in your water pressure. It's best to contact whoever carried out the work, but you can also use our approved plumbers list to find a plumber near you.

If your pipes are in poor condition, changes in pressure can strain the pipework and cause it to burst, so it’s important you protect your pipes during cold weather and contact a plumber if you spot any damaged pipework.

To make sure you’re receiving the maximum water flow possible, first check that your internal stop tap is fully open. You can usually find your internal stop tap hidden under the kitchen sink.

If the stop tap isn’t fully open, turn it gently and see if that helps improve the pressure.

We also recommend taking a careful look at all of your household appliances for any hidden leaks which can contribute to low pressure.  

You can easily test your water pressure at home, using a one litre jug and a timer.

  1. Make sure all of your taps are turned off completely, and any appliances such as a washing machine or dish washer are not in use
  2. Turn your cold kitchen tap all the way on and time how long it takes to fill the one litre jug with water, it should take around seven seconds

If other people living on your street are having the same issue as you, it's possible that there's a problem in your area.  

You should also check whether your neighbours have been doing any plumbing work on their homes. It's common that one pipe can supply more than one home, but your neighbours may not realise they've affected other homes.

If it's just your home or property that's being affected and your neighbours' supplies are all ok - contact a plumber for help.

If you've had some plumbing work done in the last 48 hours it could be related. It's best to contact whoever carried out the work, but you can also

If your cold water taps are working, but the water coming from your hot water is not heating up, this indicates an internal problem - possibly with your boiler - which a plumber should be able to help you with.

You can find a reliable, local plumber using our approved list of plumbers.

You and your water supplier split responsibility for water pipes and fittings depending on where the infrastructure is. Pipes within a property's boundary are the responsibility of the home-owner. Water meters, and infrastructure on public land, are our responsibility.

When the problem is our responsibility, we’ll fix it as quickly as possible. If the issue is your responsibility, we’ll provide all the advice you need to get it fixed.

When we do need to carry out repair work on our network, it’s our aim to ensure your service is restored in less than three hours, however larger jobs can sometimes take longer.

Your water quality

Discolouration, tastes and smells

Water discolouration can vary from a straw-like yellow, to dark brown or black. There can be many reasons for this, including:

  • Disturbed sediment made up of naturally-occurring metals and minerals
  • Corrosion of pipes
  • Plumbing issues in your home

 

When your tap water is discoloured, you shouldn’t run the hot water tap, use dishwashers, washing machines or any other appliances which use your hot water supply.

Most discolouration can be quickly cleared in just a few minutes, usually by running the cold water tap nearest your internal stop-cock. This is normally your kitchen tap.

Although the water is discoloured, it should be fine to use to water any indoor or garden plants, so it’s worth collecting this in a washing up bowl or bucket while you run the tap so it’s not wasted.

If you’re on a water meter, we can credit your bill with an amount to compensate you for the water you’ve used to flush the system.

Discoloured water doesn't normally last for long and can often be cleared by running your cold water tap for five to ten minutes.

We've got a useful tool you can use to diagnose your specific problem, know what's causing it and find out the simple way you can fix it.

Discoloured water

If the discolouration doesn’t clear after running the tap for several minutes, check with your neighbours to see if their water is also discoloured.

If your neighbours’ water is also discoloured, it’s likely that it has been caused by a burst pipe or planned repairs to the network in your area.

Sometimes your water might smell or taste different to normal. There are a few different things that may cause this based on what may be happening in your local area.

We've got a useful tool you can use to diagnose your specific problem, know what's causing it and find out the simple way you can fix it.

Tastes and smells

Leaks and bursts

Public and private leaks

There a two main groups who are responsible for water pipes. The water company, and the homeowner.

We're responsible for water pipes and infrastructure on public land, up to the external stop tap. This is where your home connects to the network. We look after water meters too, whether they’re inside or outside your home.

 

Your responsibility

As the home-owner, you are responsible for repairing and maintaining any pipes connecting your home to our network. If you're a tenant, you'll need to check with your landlord to find out which of you is responsible.

This includes pipes running inside and outside the home, within the property boundary. The external stop tap usually marks the edge of the boundary.

If you rent your home, your landlord or letting agent may be responsible for these pipes. Check your tenancy agreement or speak to your letting agent or landlord to confirm this.

Your water pipes were probably laid when your home was built. They may not have been replaced since, so it's important you PROTECT YOUR PIPES. For example, if you live in a Victorian terrace house, your pipes could be over 100 years old.

We're responsible for the water mains in the road and the pipes that go up to the external stop tap, and the external stop tap itself. We also maintain water meters. 

 

Our responsibility

As your water company, we have a responsibility to save water. It's a precious resource, and is vital to each one of us.

We need to make sure we protect water for everyone. That's why WE'RE ALWAYS WORKING HARD TO FIND AND FIX LEAKS on our network.

Pipe responsibility

If there’s a burst pipe at home, the fastest way to stop the flow is to turn your stop tap off.

If you’re on a water meter, the stop tap is likely to be next to your meter.

If you’re unmetered, your stop tap will be at the point the water pipe enters your home.

This is often under the kitchen sink or in the downstairs toilet – but may also be in a utility room or garage.

If your home has a water storage tank – the sort normally found in the loft or airing cupboard – it may have an additional stop tap or valve near to the tank itself. This will shut off the water supply to your hot water system.

If you can’t find your stop tap or shut off the water, a neighbour in a similar property may be able to help, or you can CONTACT US FOR ADVICE.

When you have a leak, spotting these early signs might help you to get it found and fixed early, before it becomes a bigger problem. 

Things to look out for include:

  • a wet patch in your grass or paving
  • an area of grass growing much quicker than that around it
  • sunken patches or slabs of paving
  • a change in water pressure

 

If you think you have a leak, it's vital that you get it found and fixed as soon as possible. Ongoing leaks, even if it's just a drip or trickle, can cause damage to your home or belongings as well as waste huge quantities of water which can mean you end up with higher bills.

You can carry out some tests at home to confirm who you need to contact to investigate and fix the leak - us or a plumber.

Home leak test

It's important to consider the work that needs doing when you hire a plumber. In some cases, it will be possible to simply repair a pipe, however in many cases, one leak can often be an indication that your pipe is in poor condition.

Your pipes can be decades old, and in some cases even over a century in age. If one section of pipes has had a problem, it's likely other sections will be a similar age and in a similar condition, so you may experience more problems in the future.

While the initial cost of a relay - replacing the damaged pipe with new pipes - is often more expensive, it could save you money in the long run if you were to have to keep paying for multiple repairs.

 

Internal plumbing

WaterSafe is a national accreditation body that lists competent, qualified plumbers across the country. To be WaterSafe certified, a plumber must be NVQ qualified. Plumbers on this list will be able to deal with internal plumbing issues.

To find an approved plumber in your area, enter your post code in the search bar.

You can call WaterSafe on 0333 207 9030.

 

External plumbing

WaterMark is Severn Trent's approved plumbers scheme. Plumbers on our WaterMark database are able to do exterior, underground work such as moling.

To ensure the highest standards, all WaterMark members have to demonstrate they have been suitably trained and that they have passed a water regulation assessment on their knowledge and application of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.

We use some amazing technology to find and fix leaks all over our region to make sure nothing is wasted, and we go to great lengths to make sure we're doing all we can to reduce and stop leakage.

With the majority of our network buried underground, it can be hard to locate the exact source of a leak, or spot it before it breaches the surface. Our teams are constantly monitoring our network, checking for subtle changes in flow rate and pressure that may indicate leaks. 

In conjunction with the incredible technology we use, we always welcome the help of the public to find and fix leaks too.

You can help us by contacting us to report a leak if you spot one when you’re at home or out and about.

The quicker we know about a leak, the quicker we can get to work fixing it, and help protect water for everyone in our region.

Flooding

Drains and sewers

It’s important to understand who’s responsible for maintaining and repairing sewer pipes and drains, especially if something goes wrong.

If you'd like detailed information about the pipes and sewers in your area, you can request a sewer map from us.

 

Your responsibility

The home owner is responsible for maintaining most sewer pipes in a property boundary. If you rent your home, your landlord or letting agent will be responsible for these pipes.

If your private sewer pipes become blocked, you’ll need to contact a drain clearing company for help and to clear the blockage.

Most shared drainage or sewer pipes will be the responsibility of the water company.

For example, your bathroom waste may travel down a pipe from your toilet – the home-owner’s responsibility – to another pipe that runs along a terrace of houses and takes
that waste to the public sewer. That connecting pipe is usually our responsibility.

 

Our responsibility

The large sewers outside of your property boundary, for example under the road or footpath, are owned by us and we repair and maintain them.

We’re also owners of most sections of sewer pipes and drains that you share with your neighbours.

However, if your home was built after 2011, shared pipes like these will be the
responsibility of the home owner.

If any section of the public sewer is blocked and causes you an issue, report the problem to us and we'll come out to investigate, establish the cause and clear the blockage.

 

Highway drains

We are not responsible for blocked highway drains. You should report blocked highway drains to the relevant local authority - usually your county council. They are responsible for keeping road gullies clear so that water can drain away freely. If a gully becomes blocked and causes flooding in the road, the Highways Authority will be responsible for clearing it. 

We are partly responsible for highway drainage, which is why you'll see a highway drainage charge on your bill. If too much water enters our sewers and drains, and that causes them to overflow, we are responsible.

It's important you're able to indentify what kind of flooding it is, so you know who to contact.  

However, there is one thing we recommend in the case of any flooding that affects your home. You should always contact your insurer. If you don’t, it may affect your future claims.  

There are several different types of flooding including:

  • Major river flooding
  • Surface water and ground water flooding
  • Highway and roads flooding
  • Sewer flooding

Different organisations are responsible for each type of flooding.

 

Rivers

Higher levels of rainwater can cause rivers to burst their banks causing large amounts of flood water and damage. For this, you'll need to speak to the Environment Agency. You can call their Floodline on 0800 80 70 60. They will be able to advise further with the next steps you need to take. The type talk number for this service is 0345 602 6340.

 

Surface water

When it's raining heavily, you may notice smaller rivers and streams are bursting. Very high levels of rain can also lead to too much water being stored underground, causing the water to rise up above the surface. This may remain for weeks after the rain has stopped. Contact your local flood authority who'll be able to help and provide advice. Your local flood authority is your county council or unitary authority.

 

Highway and roads

If the flooding is coming from a highway drain (the ones with holes you can drop keys down) or a gully in the road near to you, speak to your local county council authority for smaller roads. Contact Highways England for busier and larger routes, such as motorways and dual carriageways. They're responsible for these drains in the road, and can help you further. You can contact Highways England on 0300 123 5000. 

 

Sewers and drains

If you can see sewer debris like toilet paper then this will be a sewer flooding. If it's coming from the public sewer we'll be responsible for this. You should report sewer flooding to us immediately. Get in touch and we'll be able to help and provide advice on what to do. If the flooding is only affecting your home and is coming from a private drain on yours or your neighbour’s boundary, then you or the owner of the drain will need to arrange the repair. You should contact your insurer in any case of sewer flooding. If you don’t, it may affect your future claims.

First, you need to tell us about the flooding. Then we can help you work out what caused it.

After you’ve contacted us, get in touch with your insurer.

They’ll be able to tell you how to clean up, disinfect your home and replace damaged property. If a private drain caused the flooding, it will be up to you to arrange a clean-up.

Speak to your insurance company about claims for any loss or damage. If you don’t contact them, you may not be able to claim in the future.

If you rent your home, you should also contact your landlord or letting agent.

We will send someone to investigate whether a public sewer or private drain was the cause.

If our public sewer caused the flood, we will carry out a basic clean-up.

We’ll remove any excess liquids or solids left behind. In the case of external flooding, we can also carry out an initial disinfection of the area.

We're not able to do anything that may risk causing further damage to your property. Therefore, you will need to arrange a thorough clean-up by professional cleaners through your insurance company.

You can find out more about sewer flooding [PDF] in our handy guide.

If you are experiencing any other kind of flooding, other organisations may be responsible for helping to deal with it and support you. Make sure you know who to contact for each different type of flooding.

Blockages

If you think you might have a blocked pipe or drain, there are some key signs to look out for.

If you have a blockage, you’ll notice:

  • Your toilet taking more time to flush than normal
  • Bad smells coming from your drains
  • Water draining away or emptying slowly from the sink or bath
  • Waste or sewage coming back up in the toilet or sink

The causes of blocked pipes and drains

Blockages are most often caused by items such as wet wipes and sanitary products that are flushed down the toilet, or by leftover cooking fats and oils poured down the kitchen sink.

These items stick together and over time they build up and block pipes and drains.

Our drains and sewers are only designed to carry human waste, wastewater and loo roll from your toilets and the used water from your sinks, baths and showers.

You should put anything else, including wet wipes or sanitary products, in the bin.

The responsibility for sewer pipes is split between us – the water company – and the homeowner.

If there’s a blockage in our sewers or pipework, we’ll clear it. If the blockage is in pipework in your property, you will be responsible for clearing and repairing it.

Knowing if the blockage is in your sewer pipes or ours

There a couple of quick ways you can find out if the blockage is in your private pipework or not.

  • Check if your neighbours also have drainage problems

If your neighbours are having similar problems, that will likely indicate that the blockage is in our sewers or pipes.

If your neighbours don’t have similar issues, it’s more likely that the blockage is in the pipes on your property.

  • Check if multiple rooms are affected

If you have more than one bathroom, check to see if there’s a difference between whether one toilet flushes better than the other, or if one sink drains more slowly.

If there’s a difference in flush or flow, it might indicate the blockage is in the pipes on your property internally. 

A blocked drain, toilet or a clogged sink can be a hassle to sort and cause some unpleasant problems, so it’s important you get it cleared as soon as possible.

Hire a plumber

You can hire a plumber to investigate and clear the blockage.

Ask us to help

You can ask us to investigate a blockage.

If we find that the blockage is in your private pipework, our engineers will discuss this with you as we may be able to clear it for £114.

You're under no obligation to use our service and can contact an independent drainage company to clear the blockage if you'd prefer.

If you'd like us to clear a blockage in your private pipework for you, you'll need to be at the property when we visit so you can make a card payment before we start work.

Step 3

Let us know

If Step 1 and Step 2 haven't resolved your issue, then you'll need to let us know.

Our teams are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Often the best way to get in touch is to message us.

 

You're our priority

We all need some extra help and support at some time

The Priority Services Register is a list of our customers who have additional needs that we should be aware of. This makes sure we're able to tailor our support and services, as well as prioritise care for those who need it most during supply interruptions.

If you have received a letter from your GP or the UK Governemnt informing you to sheild at home to protect yourself from COVID-19, we recommend you join our Priority Services Register, so we can support you as much as we can.

If you don't need these services, you may very well know a family member, friend or neighbour who does. Let them know so we can help as many people as we can.