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Drains, Private Sewers or Public Sewers

Responsibility for maintenance of drains, private sewers or public sewers depends on where the blockage or defect has occurred/

  • Drains generally serve a single property. If you own the property, you are responsible for the maintenance and repair of drains on their property.
  • Public Sewers serve two or more properties built before October 1937. These usually include the large 'main' sewers that run along the centre of the roads into which individual drains and both private and public sewers run.
  • Private Sewers serve two or more properties built after 1st October 1937. The owners of each of the properties are responsible for the maintenance and repair of private sewers on their properties.

Our Environmental Protection team has responsibility for ensuring that owners properly maintain their drains and private sewers.

Anglian Water

Anglian Water is responsible for the maintenance, repair of public sewers, and hold records of where all the Public Sewers are within the Borough.

Please contact Anglian Water for any enquiries:

Anglian Water Services Ltd
Development Engineering Department
Colchester Sewage Treatment Works
Haven Road
Essex CO2 8HT

Tel: 08457 145145

Drain and Sewer Problems

  • If a private sewer blocks speak to the owners of the other properties served by the sewer at the point of the defect to reach an agreement to, jointly, employ a contractor to clear or repair it.
  • If you and your neighbours can't agree where the problem stems from, contact the Environmental Protection team who will arrange for an Environmental Health Officer to visit the site to investigate the cause of the blockage and decide who is responsible for clearing or repairing the sewer. They may then serve formal Notices on the relevant owners requiring them to either cleanse the sewer or carry out repairs. Failure to comply with the Notice will result in the work being carried out by us and each of the owners being sent an appropriate portion of the bill.
  • You are responsible for the drain or sewer on your property right up to the point where the drain or private sewer joins a public sewer, including the saddle, irrespective of ownership of any land or highway under which it may run or the location of your property boundary.

Page last updated: 24/05/2017