The Council is liable for maintaining and repairing the drains and sewers serving its properties. We do not have enforcement powers to deal with drainage problems that are other people’s responsibility.

Dealing with drainage problems

If you’re experiencing a drainage problem at your Council home please contact us for assistance. If you’re a housing association tenant, contact your social landlord and if you are a private-sector tenant, contact your landlord or letting agent.

If you own your home, try to establish whether the problem concerns a drain or a public sewer. Once this is established, if it is a private drain you can try to clear it yourself. Drain-clearing rods can be hired from tool hire businesses or bought from DIY shops and builders merchants. Alternatively, pay for a contractor to do the work.

We can help with referrals for public sewers for which Severn Trent Water (or Anglian Water in the case of Barnby in the Willows, Harby, and Wigsley) is responsible.

Drains and sewers

A drain is a pipe or pipes which drain one building only. It is the responsibility of the owner of that building up to the point at which it leaves the boundary of the property. From that point onwards to its connection with the public sewer it is now known as a lateral drain, irrespective of whether it runs under the highway or land belonging to an adjacent property.

A lateral drain is the responsibility of the sewerage undertaker (Severn Trent Water or Anglian Water).

A sewer is a drainage system which serves two or more buildings, from the point at which the drains serving those buildings combine.

All foul and combined sewers (the latter take both sewage and surface water) are classed as public sewers. Severn Trent Water or Anglian Water are responsible for maintaining these, including clearing blockages and repairing faults.

If you’re planning to build over a sewer (for example when extending your house), you’ll need to apply for permission from Severn Trent Water or Anglian Water. Further advice is available from the East Midlands Building Consultancy.

Cesspools and septic tanks

Cesspools and septic tanks are used in more remote rural areas where there is no sewerage system. A cesspool is a storage tank for sewage, which has to be emptied often and is generally inadequate for modern levels of water usage. A septic tank is a mini-sewage treatment plant, usually serving one building. Both are the responsibility of the owner of the building.

Highway drains and land drains

Highway drains take surface-water from the highway (roads), usually via gullies or grates set along the kerb at intervals. These are the responsibility of Nottinghamshire County Council, except in rare cases where the highway has not been adopted.

Land drains are drains constructed for the drainage of groundwater away from land which would otherwise be waterlogged. They’re the responsibility of those whose land they run through and drain, and in the case of problems, that of the landowner where the problem lies.

They discharge into watercourses such as ditches and streams, which themselves can become blocked and cause flooding.

In low-lying areas it is usually the responsibility of the Trent Valley Internal Drainage Board to keep these watercourses free-running; in other areas we have powers to deal with problems. Contact us if you have seen an area of concern.

Flooding concerns

If you are concerned about flooding, what you can do to prevent flooding or help available, our flood FAQs page may be able to answer your query.