Who Is Responsible When A Drainage Problem Occurs?

We’ve all been affected by faulty drainage systems, from cracked pipes to backed up sewers. Whether caused by loose autumn leaves or irresponsible use, blocked drains or gutters can cause immeasurable damage, not to mention the extra hassle that you could do without!

However, before you take any kind of action to rectify the problem, it’s important to know who is responsible for each part of the drainage system. Here are a few useful indicators to help you out…


On the whole, sewers are publically owned, making them the responsibility of the local water authority. Sewers are where waste water from lateral drains and private pipework ends up, and must be properly maintained to avoid damage caused by blockages and cracks in the internal structure. However, some sewers are not connected to the public network, and instead use cesspools, septic tanks or treatment plants for processing waste. In this instance, it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure correct upkeep, although no sewerage charges will appear on water bills for these homes or businesses.

Private Drains

Any drain that falls within the boundaries of your property counts as your responsibility, and you are accountable for keeping them properly maintained and in optimum working order. Anything that is involved with waste water from a building is classed as a drain, and this includes all gutters, pipes and drains that run throughout your property. Anything beyond the edge of your premises (up to the point they meet the sewer network) is known as a ‘lateral drain’ and falls under the jurisdiction of the water authorities.

Any faults, problems or blockages with a private drain must be handled personally, and in many cases this will require the help of a professional drainage company.

Note: Some larger estates may contain their own sewage works, for which the owners would be accountable. If you’re unsure, the deeds of the property should contain the relevant information.

Lateral Drains

As mentioned above, a lateral drain denotes any pipework that runs between the exterior border of your premises and the start of the sewage network. If they are backed-up or suffering from any other fault, it is the responsibility of the local water authority to rectify the problem – even if the pipes begin as a private drain on your property. The water authority you will need to contact in the event of lateral drain damage depends on your location, and will either be South West Water, Wessex Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water, Welsh Water, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities (in the North West), Northumbrian Water, Scottish Water or Northern Ireland Water.

Express Drainage Solutions

As one of the leading domestic and commercial drainage and sewer service providers in the country, Express Drainage Solutions are available for full unblocking and repair of all private drains across the London area and beyond.

Our thorough CCTV inspections allow us to determine the cause of any drain problem quickly and accurately, and, whether your drains are cracked and need relining or you have a blockage and require high powered water jetting to clear it, we have the solution.

Express Drainage Solutions are available at short notice for emergency drain repairs with a 24/7 service, and all of our work is offered at highly competitive rates.

We also carry out work on lateral drains and sewage networks on behalf of local authorities, giving us the wide variety of experience and expertise necessary to handle any job.


Want more information?Contact us today on 020 3124 1785

EDS unblocked and repaired over 20,000 drains last year for the residents and businesses of London.

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Express Solutions Group

Category: Drainage


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