Who Is Responsible For Repairing Drains & Sewers?


Usually speaking, you’re responsible for drains inside the boundaries of your home. Whilst a sewerage company is responsible for any lateral drains and sewers, these are the drains outside of your property’s boundaries. Although most sewers are now publicly owned there are some private or unadopted sewers.

What Is The Difference Between A Drain & Sewer?

A drain is a pipe that drains waste and water from a building and other buildings that connect to it, for example, a garage.

A lateral drain is a length of a pipe that carries wastewater away from a property to a sewer. Usually located outside of your property’s boundary often under a public pavement or road. A later drain can run under your property if you share a sewer with your neighbour.

A sewer collects waste and water from the drains of a number of different buildings, many are publicly owned and maintained by your water company. However, there are still some privately owned sewers. Some people are not connected to a sewer but to a cesspool, septic tank or treatment plant, if this is you then you do not have to pay sewerage charges to a sewerage company.

Repairs To Drains

You are responsible for the maintenance and repairing of drains inside the boundaries of your property – these are your private drains. You do not need to maintain or repair lateral drains that you share with your neighbour, your water company is responsible for these.

Any work that is carried out on your private drains has to be paid for by you but you are free to choose a company of your choice to carry out this work. Alternatively, you might want to take out insurance to pay for work on private drains.

Repairs To Sewers

Sewers and lateral drains connected to the public network used to be the responsibility of the property owner. However, most of these are now maintained by local water companies. If you have any problems with your sewer or lateral drains contact your local water company.

Private & Unadopted Sewers

You might have a private sewer or a lateral drain if you live on a site that has a number of different properties, for example, a block of flats or a caravan site.

If you have a private or an unadopted sewer and own a property, you are responsible for the cost of maintaining and repairing it. If the sewer serves a number of properties these owners are jointly responsible for these costs.

The local authority environmental health department can order you to repair or unblock a private sewer or lateral drain if it’s not properly maintained. If you do not carry out the work in the time period specified by the local authority they might carry out the work themselves and charge you for this.

Right To Connect To A Public Sewer

All water and sewerage companies have a duty to provide public sewers to make sure the area is effectively drained. Usually, you have the right to connect to the drain from your property to the public sewer but you may have to pay for this.

You’re Not Sure Whether Your Sewer Is Private

If you’re not sure whether your property is connected to a public sewer or a private one, you can:

  • Check with your sewerage company
  • Check the deeds of your property
  • Check a sewer map – your sewerage company must make these available to you if you ask
  • Check with your local authority
  • Give us a ring here a Drain Jetting Services

More Information Can Be Obtained Here

If you have any questions or need help with your drains then Drain Jetting Services is here for you. Trusted & Local Drainage Team with years of experience, able to help come up with a solution to any problem we come across.

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