What’s the difference between a drain and a sewer?
A drain is a pipe that drains water and waste from a building and other buildings which belong with it, for example a garage.
A lateral drain is a length of pipe which carries wastewater away from your property. It’s located outside your property boundary, often under a public pavement or road.
A sewer collects water and waste from the drains of a number of buildings. Most sewers are publicly owned and are maintained by your water company. However, there are still some privately owned sewers.
Some people aren’t connected to a sewer but to a cesspool, septic tank or treatment plant. If you aren’t connected to a sewer, you won’t have to pay sewerage charges to a sewerage company.
Repairs to drains
You are responsible for maintaining or repairing any drains inside the boundaries of your property.
You will have to pay to get this work done, but you are free to choose whichever company you want to do the work. Alternatively, you may take out insurance to pay for work on private drains.
Sometimes, you may be required to have insurance for the drain to your property. You should check with your building insurance company whether this is the case.
In some circumstances, your local authority environmental health department can order you to carry out improvement work or replace a private drain. They might do this if, for example, they think your drain is too small for your property or if it’s causing a blockage.
If necessary, a local authority can carry out the work themselves and then charge you for it.
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