Sewers & drainage

Please see the House of Commons note on Sewer Flooding. This note provides information on sewer flooding from public sewers including liabilities, compensation and prevention.

Transfer of Private Sewers

Since October 1, 2011 property owners are no longer responsible for private sewers and lateral drains. New legislation has transferred responsibility for these pipes to Thames Water. Property owners will still be responsible for the length of drain that takes wastewater away from their property up to its boundary or to where it becomes a public sewer.

However, privately-owned septic tanks and cesspits and their connecting pipework, large multi-occupier commercial sites (i.e. hospital, caravan park or industrial estate), or other systems which do not connect to the public sewer, such as surface water pipes which discharge directly to a watercourse, will not be transferred to the water company.

Private pumping stations will be transferred by October 2016. This will give sewerage companies time to find and survey all these stations, and to work out what works are required to enable them to be adopted.

The Government has estimated that the transfer will increase customers’ bills by between £3 and £14 per year. This small increase in your bill will protect you against the much larger one-off costs of clearing blockages and making repairs yourself.

If you believe the sewer is blocked you need to contact the relevant company. Check your sewerage bill to confirm which company to contact.

Thames Water contact details:

0800 316 9800 (24 hour emergency number)

Rural Drainage & Septic Tanks

New legislation requires that all householders must register their septic tank systems with Environment Agency for a "permit" or "registered permit exemption". The permit will control potential pollution to local environment and water courses. Registration is currently free.

Please see the attached document for further information or register with the Environment Agency using the following link:

Registration can be found here - Septic Tank Registration