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Blockages - prevention is always better than cure

A blocked drain or sewer isn't much fun. You'll know when you've got one if you have difficulties with flushing your toilet, water drains away slowly, you experience unusual smells or if there is an overflowing manhole nearby.

However, did you know that many instances of blockages are preventable? You can find out more about prevention here. Also if problems are reported quickly they can usually be sorted out quickly, too.

First of all, is the problem yours or ours? We're responsible for maintaining public sewers and drains. As a homeowner, you're responsible for private sewers and drains which are usually those within your property's boundary. Put simply, we unblock the former at our cost, and you should unblock the latter at yours.

Blockages may cause sewerage to spill out of manholes and into properties or rivers, so it is very important to contact us if you think you have a problem and we can determine whether it's a public or private.

Note that most blockages can be cleared within minutes but if you have to arrange a specialist contractor to attend and do the work, please get a clear breakdown of the costs involved before they start. You don't want a nasty blocked sewer surprise followed by a nasty financial surprise.

As we mentioned above, it's reckoned that around 75% of sewer and drain blockages are caused by the wrong things being put down plug holes and loos. Many items, from congealed cooking oils to disposable nappies, cause blockages and cost UK home owners millions of pounds a year in expensive plumbing work.

How we can help

Can we use the emergency number instead?

Help us to help you avoid unnecessary sewer and drain problems and their related charges, simply read our advice on prevention here.

You'll find information and advice about sewer flooding, here.