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What to do if you experience sewer flooding

It can be stressful if sewage floods your home. Here’s what you need to do if you experience sewer flooding at your property.

Let us know

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

You can:

We’re here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact your insurer

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.

What we'll do

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

We will be there within 4 hours for internal sewer flooding, and 12 hours for external sewer flooding.

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.

Flooding responsibility

Does the water have foul debris like toilet paper, sanitary products and wipes? Is it also coming from the public sewer in the street? If so, it's likely our sewer and we'll sort that out.

Is the flooding only affecting your home? Is the water coming from a private drain or sewer on your or a neighbours property boundary? Is the local area flood-free? If so, you or the owner will need to repair the drain.

Is the flooding is coming from a highway drain (the ones with the holes you can drop keys through) or gully? Is the water clean and has no foul debris like toilet paper or sanitary products? If so, it's the responsibility of the local highways authority or county council.

Higher rainwater during bad weather can cause rivers to burst their banks. This results in river water getting into the public sewerage network causing flooding. If this is the case, contact the Environment Agency.

If there has been heavy rain, you may notice rainwater and surface water flooding. Flooding caused by rainwater and surface water, and small local rivers or streams may burst their banks. This is the responsibility of your local flood authority. You can find out who to contact by searching online.  

Heavy rain can sometimes water log fields that don't have proper drainage. This can result in flooding. In the majority of cases, the landowner will be responsible.  

The causes of sewer flooding

Putting the wrong thing down the drain causes 75% of sewer flooding.

Items like nappies and baby wipes do not break down in the sewer. They get wrapped up together, causing large blockages. Fats, oils and grease stick to the pipes, forming ever-growing fatbergs.

As a result it's often not easy to determine the root cause immediately. However, in all cases of sewer flooding, we'll try to find out why it happened and how to prevent it from
happening again.

There are a couple of quick ways you can help to reduce sewer blockages.  

Use a GunkPot to get rid of your cooking fat, oil and grease. When it has cooled, put contents of the pot in the bin.

You should also put all your nappies, baby wipes and sanitary products in the bin. Remember to put them in a separate bag first.

Need to report an incident of sewer flooding? Get in touch now.

If your query is urgent call our 24-hour Customer Centre on 0800 783 4444.

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