Drainage and sewerage
The council is liable for the repair and maintenance of drains and sewers that serve its properties. However, the council does have enforcement powers to deal with drainage problems for which others are responsible. The exception to this is public sewers for which Severn Trent Water (or Anglian Water in the case of Barnby in the Willows, Harby, and Wigsley) is responsible.
A drain is a pipe or pipes which drain one building only, and 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 (combined means taking both sewage and surface water) are classed as public sewers for which Severn Trent Water or Anglian Water is responsible, and this includes clearing blockages and repairing faults.
If you are planning to build over a sewer (for example when extending your house), you will need to apply for permission from Severn Trent Water or Anglian Water. Further advice is available from the East Midlands Building Constituency.
Cesspools and septic tanks are used in more remote rural areas where there is no sewerage system. A cesspool is merely a storage tank for sewage, which has to be emptied often, (which is expensive) 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 are drains which take surface-water from the highway (roads), usually via gullies (‘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 are 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 Newark Area Internal Drainage Board to keep these watercourses free-running. In other areas this authority has powers under the Land Drainage Acts to deal with such problems.
If you live near a watercourse, and would like further information on maintenance and responsibilities please refer to the waterside living page of this website.
If you are experiencing a drainage problem at your property are a Newark and Sherwood Homes tenant, contact Newark and Sherwood Homes. If you are 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 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.