Blocked drains


A drain carries waste water and surface water through a pipe.

A lateral drain sits outside the boundary of the property it serves. Lateral drains usually run through a neighbour’s garden or is situated on the highway beyond the property boundary.

A sewer pipe carries waste water and surface water from more than one property.

Who has responsibility?


Problems with or a blocked drain is usually the responsibility of the property owner. You may be covered under your household insurance or a specific drainage insurance scheme. Alternatively, you could attempt to clear the blockage or repair the defect yourself or consult a drainage contractor to carry out the required work.

Sewers and lateral drains

United Utilities are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the public sewer network. A change in legislation effective from 1st October 2011 also made United Utilities responsible for the repair and maintenance of lateral drains. If you think that you have a problem with a public sewer, a former private sewer or a lateral drain you should report it to United Utilities by telephone 0845 746 2200 or online. If you are not sure who is responsible please go to the United Utilities website which has some useful information and may help you.

If you live in rented accommodation and have a drainage problem you should contact your landlord or Housing Association.

Highway drainage (grids and gullies)

We are responsible for highways drainage. This includes the gullies or grids that can be found in the road to take water off the highway.

Report a blocked highway drain