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Who is responsible for drains and sewers?

Whether it’s a blocked drain or a fully collapsed pipe, drainage problems can put the brakes on your day.

Quick resolution is needed to prevent further damage and disruption, but there’s a big question to ask: who is responsible for drains and sewers? Is it your legal duty or someone else’s to solve the issue? This all depends on a few factors.

To help you get fast answers, here’s a simple guide to who is responsible for drains and sewers in the event of arising problems.


  • What are drains? Drains refer to pipes that transport wastewater away from a building. Your private home drains then connect to lateral drains, often situated underneath publicly owned streets outside the bounds of your property. These lateral drains connect to the sewer system.
  • Who is responsible for drains? If a fault is within the boundaries of your property or land, then you as the property owner are responsible for repairs. Lateral drains that are shared among multiple houses are not your responsibility, however, and all repairs to lateral drains should be dealt with by the local water company.


  • What are sewers? Sewers are pipes that transport water and other waste from a large number of buildings, rather than a single one. Very often sewers are publicly owned and managed, but this is not always the case.
  • Who is responsible for sewers? The vast majority of sewers and lateral drains are managed by water companies, who must take responsibility for any repairs. In some circumstances, sewers or lateral drains may be privately owned. In this case, any issues that arise should be dealt with by all homeowners whose properties link to the sewer. If you and your neighbours wish for your private sewer to be adopted by a water company, then the responsibility can be transferred over as long as certain criteria are met and the water companies agree to it.
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What if you’re not sure?

If you are unsure of whether a drain lies within your property boundary, get in touch with your local authority to ask for deeds or plans to clarify. If you’re unable to get hold of these documents, or if responsibility is still not clear, a CCTV drain survey can help map out the location of your drains and where in the drainage system the fault lies.

Action to take if you’re responsible

If the responsibility lies with you, it’s important to resolve any drainage issues quickly. Leaving problems unresolved can cause further damage to your drains, leading to greater costs in the future.

Luckily, there are responsive round-the-clock drainage services on hand to help, such as those provided by MPH Drain Services. We are skilled at dealing with emergency drainage issues, offering swift diagnosis and resolution to restore drains to full health.

Do you have drainage issues in Yorkshire? Here at MPH Drain Services, we provide a 24/7 reactive service with free call-outs and no-obligation quotations. Whether you need a rapid response or routine drain care, you will benefit from our 20+ years of industry experience. Get in touch today.

Call us 24/7 - Freephone 01977 802 283
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Published: 11 January 2024 Category: Drain Repairs

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