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Drains are pipes, which carry waste and surface water from one or more houses. When one drain meets another, it becomes a sewer. These are not the gullies or grids that can be found in the road to take water off the highway. Knowing who is responsible for clearing a blocked drain or sewer is one of the hardest parts of drainage work. It is important to understand the different types of pipe work, because the responsibilities are different with each type of pipe.

How do I know if it is my drain that is blocked?

If your drain is blocked you will usually know because your waste will stop going away when you flush the toilet, or gullies outside will overflow. There will also probably be a smell.


Drains carry waste and/or surface water directly from one house into a public or private sewer.


If you own a house you are responsible for clearing and repairing the drains, gutters and rain water pipes.

If you are a tenant the landlord is usually responsible, but depending on your tenancy agreement, the landlord may pass on the costs to you.

If your drain is blocked it is your responsibility to arrange for the blockage to be cleared. You can either do this yourself or by contacting a Drainage Engineer (under 'Drain and Pipe Clearing' in the Yellow Pages)


Private Sewers

A Private Sewer is any waste connection that is situated within a property boundary or up to the point where it joins onto a neighbour's sewer.


Private owners are responsible for any repairs or maintenance to private sewers. If you are a tenant your landlord may be responsible for the works, depending on your tenancy agreement.

Public Sewers

Due to a change in law, as from 1st October 2011, any section of a sewer network that is shared between two properties has become a public sewer. This therefore means that a public sewer can now be situated within a property boundary.


The Sewer Undertaker is responsible for public sewers - for the South Holland District this is Anglian Water. They have the responsibility to clear blockages, repair damage and maintain public sewers. Anglian Water can be contacted on 08457 145 145.

For more information about the changes to sewer responsibilities, please visit the Anglian Water Website.

Public highways

The road gullies are the responsibility of the Highway Authority (Lincolnshire County Council), as are the drains connecting gullies to a public sewer.

Public surface water sewers are the responsibility of either Anglian Water, or, where it is a designated highway drain, Lincolnshire County Council .

Private roads, garage compounds and parking areas.

Private roads, garage compounds and parking areas are the responsibility of the householders adjoining the private road or drained area. The householder is responsible for the pipe up where the drain leaves the property boundary or starts to serve two or more properties.

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