Drains, sewers and sewage treatment systems

The Council can help by offering advice on drains and sewage treatment systems, helping to identify who is responsible for any repairs or blockages. We are responsible for enforcing legislation that ensures that buildings have sufficient and satisfactory provision for drainage. Further information can be found in the fact sheet "Drains and Sewage Treatment Systems".

The responsibility for maintenance and clearing drains and sewers will be with either the water company (Wessex Water or South West Water in Taunton Deane area) or with the owner of the property.

• Drains - These are pipes that carry waste/water from just one property. They are the responsibility of the owner of the property. When a drain passes outside the boundary of the property where it becomes the responsibility of the water company.

• Sewers - These are the pipes that carry water from more than one property and are the responsibility of the water company.

• Road Gullies - These are drains that take surface water from a road and are the responsibility of Somerset County Council (SCC) Roads and Transport.

Some sewers and roads on new developments may not have been adopted by the water undertaker or the County Council. In these cases the developer would be responsible for their maintenance.

Sewage treatment plants are used to treat foul waste in areas where there is no main sewer. They tend to be the responsibility of the properties that use them, or they could be managed by one landlord/owner.

Laws and regulation

We have enforcement role to ensure that buildings have sufficient and satisfactory provision for drainage. This can include damaged or blocked drains.

If we are called in to investigate a damaged or blocked drain and the person(s) responsible are not taking appropriate action, a legal notice will be served on the owners of all affected properties under the Building Act 1984. This will require them to carry out the necessary work to repair or unblock the drains.