What is a drain?
A drain is used for the drainage of one building or of buildings or yards appurtenant to buildings within the same curtilage, and includes any manholes, ventilating shafts, pumps or other accessories belonging to the drain. It can convey foul water (sink / bath / toilet etc.) and/or surface water (rain).
The owner or occupier of a house is solely responsible for maintaining a drain, clearing blockages and repairing any faults within the curtilage of the property. Where a drain extends outside the boundary of the property (for example under the road or under a neighbour's garden) it is known as a lateral and is responsibility of the sewerage undertaker (Severn Trent Water) right up to the main public sewer.
What is a sewer?
A sewer is a shared drain serving buildings and yards from more than one curtilage and includes any manholes, ventilating shafts, pumps or other accessories belonging to the sewer.
From the 1st October 2011 all sewers (shared drains) are the responsibility of Severn Trent Water Limited. Sewers are normally larger diameter and found under the highway, but can be anywhere. The Council and Severn Trent Water Ltd. hold copies of the Public Sewer Maps showing the locations of main public sewers but not necessarily these smaller diameter pipes that have recently become their responsibility
Another type of Public Sewer (previously known as a “Section 24” sewer) is one that was one built as a private sewer before 1st October 1937 but then, as a result of a change in the law, became the responsibility of Severn Trent Water Ltd. Plans of this type of public sewer seldom exist, although the council do hold some records, so each case has to be assessed by Severn Trent Water Limited using the evidence available. A site survey will often be required.
What if I rent my property and I have a problem?
If you rent your property and you have a problem with a drain or sewer, then you should contact your landlord in the first instance.
If you are a Council tenant then you should contact: