Who is responsible for my drain? Backed up drains; cracked external pipework; blocked sewers – no matter how well you look after your drains, it’s likely as a homeowner that at some point you will have to deal with any of these emergencies. Until we have a problem few of us give much thought to who owns the drains and sewers which serve our property.


Anything that drains water and waste from a building is defined as a drain. Drain and sewer pipes get blocked from time to time and can pose a risk to health if the sewage overflows. That’s when you should call an experienced service provider, like Alton Pump Services. With all the appropriate protective clothing and equipment Alton Pump Services are well equipped to deal with a sewer or drain blockage. Call our experienced team for your sewer or drain emergency 24/7 on 01420 561661.


The responsibility for the upkeep of drains and sewers is in the hands of different organisations and people. If you are a homeowner, generally you are responsible for the pipes and drains at your property. If you rent your home, your landlord is responsible (unless you have an alternative agreement).


  • What you’re responsible for: the pipes, gutters and drains in and around your home, including the drains from your property up to your boundary.


  • What your local authority is responsible for: road gullies; these are small grate-covered openings at the edge of roads, and are used to drain surface water from the highway.


Citizens Advice guidance is:

‘Sewers and lateral drains connected to the public network used to be the responsibility of the property owner. However, most are now maintained by local water companies. If you have any problems with your sewer or lateral drain, for example if it’s blocked, contact your local water company.’



It is advisable to have an inspection to see if the problem is with your drain or the sewer system. Drains take wastewater directly away from your home, from sinks, baths, showers and washing machines. Sewers channel wastewater from your drains. Sewers are usually publicly owned and maintained by your water authority. If your sewer pipe is blocked it may be from waste water from a combination of pipes and lateral drains.   Depending on where the blockage is the responsibility may lie with you or your local authority.


You may not be connected to the main sewer system – instead using cesspools, septic tanks or soakaways. In these cases, the responsibility for upkeep is passed back to the proprietor of the home or business.  Backed up drains can cause a serious health risk so if you are the property owner and have a leak within your boundary please call us immediately to clear your drain.

If you find you are responsible for your drain and have a problem call Alton Pump Services on; 01420 561661

Who is responsible for my drain?


Drain Unblocking


Drain & Sewer Management


Emergency Call Out

Private Drains

In general if you own a property and are resident or a landlord you are responsible for the drains inside the boundaries of your property.  This includes all gutters, pipes and drains that up to the edge of your premises.

Lateral Drains

Pipework that runs outside the boundary of your property before it reaches the main sewer network are called lateral drains.  These are usually the responsibility of the local water authority.