Private Sewers & Drains

Not surprisingly, foul drains and sewers are "out of sight and out of mind" for most of the public, and then a blockage occurs, or worse…. We receive many calls from people who do not know what to do when they are affected by a blocked drain. The following information should act as a useful guide:

Private Sewers & Drains

On 1st October 2011 the ownership of all private drain pipes outside householders own boundaries and all shared private sewer pipes transferred to the water/sewerage companies.

Prior to this date, many property owners will have had responsibility or shared responsibility for sewers and drains both inside and outside their boundaries up to where they connect to public sewers, which could in the past lead to difficulties in resolving problems and large bills to pay for repairs. Environmental Health Departments have previously advised upon and used enforcement powers to deal with these issues, but from 1st October 2011 all blockages and other problems relating to shared sewers and drains outside house-holders’ boundaries should now be reported direct to the relevant sewerage company, which for Worcestershire is Severn Trent Water.

The contact number for Severn Trent Water is 0800 7834444. Any issues relating to the service provided by Severn Trent in dealing with such matters should be taken up in accordance with their complaints procedure.

Non mains drainage remains within private ownership, and pollution or nuisance from private treatment plants, septic tanks, pump stations and cesspools will be investigated by Worcestershire Regulatory Services. The contact telephone number is 01905 822799 and e-mail:

Tackle the problems before they occur…

Many blockages and other problems could be prevented through good practice.
Do not dispose of fats or oils into the drain as they cool down and set as a hard scale.
Do not dispose of bulky sanitary items such as nappy liners into drains.
Do not apply permanent landscaping over inspection covers as they are needed for access to clear blockages.
Take care if you are considering planting deep-rooted trees such as willows, as the roots often enter sewers and drains.
Check to see whether your property insurance covers you for drainage problems. If not, it is possible to take out separate cover for this

The role of Worcestershire Regulatory Services

In some cases, it is not easy to resolve problems associated with private drains or sewers. Our staff can help, with either the matter being dealt with using informal advice, guidance or information, or by formal enforcement action being taken if necessary.

Formal Action

Blockages of private drains may ultimately result in a risk to Public Health if left unattended.We can serve a Notice requesting that obstructions are cleared within 48 hours. Failure for this to happen will result in our engaging a contractor to do the work. The cost of this, plus administrative fees will then be re-charged to the person or persons responsible.

Damage to a private drain can also be remedied by service of a Notice. Non-compliance could result in prosecution and/or the works being carried out in default by us. The cost of the works plus fees will be charged to all parties responsible.

Please remember that problems associated with public sewers must be dealt with by the sewerage undertaker. The telephone number to contact is 0800 783 4444.