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Sewers and drainage
Drainage responsibility is often confusing for
home owners, especially when things go wrong.
In 2011, the law changed for who is
responsible for different sections of drainage that serve different
The distinction between drains and sewers:
- A drain is a pipe which carries effluent from one property
- A sewer is a pipe which carries effluent from more than one
- When two drains join, the pipe becomes a sewer
Generally, householders are responsible for the drains serving
their property that are located within their boundary. The
local Water Authority (Southern Water for Medway) is responsible
for drains located outside the boundary of a property and
sewers. A guide and video explaining who is responsible for
what sections can be found on
Southern Water’s website.
Properties connected to a private pumping station
As detailed above, the same information
applies for the sections of pipe work serving properties connected
to a pumping station, however the responsibility for the pumping
station, valve chamber and rising main falls to those householders
that are connected to the station.
Local Water Authorities will be taking over
the responsibility for private pumping stations serving two or more
properties in October 2016. Southern Water are in the process
of collecting data of the locations of these pumping stations and
would welcome information from residents by completing their
data collection form.
Properties connected to a cesspit or septic tank.
These are private drainage systems and as
such, the responsibility for them falls entirely on the
householder. They are not the responsibility of Southern Water nor
the council. The maintenance and upkeep of these systems, which
includes their emptying, is the householders
So blockages don't occur...
- take care with what items are actually pushed, poured or
flushed down a drain or sewer
The following items should never be put down a drain:
- cement, rubble, concrete, stones
- bricks, engine oil, chemicals, sanitary products
- newspapers, magazines, nappies, cotton buds
- hand wipes, fats, other bulky items
Report contaminated land, light pollution, drainage or asbestos
- Southern Water - phone 03303030368
Details of other contractors who may be able to assist you with
your drainage problems can be found in the Yellow Pages under the
heading "drain and pipe cleaning".