What is a drain?

A drain is the pipe which takes waste water from the sink, bath, washing machine, toilet, or surface water (such as rain water) away from one property.

If you find your toilet is blocked, water from the sink overflows or there is a smell coming from a drain grid or inspection chamber check to see if your neighbours are experiencing similar problems. If your neighbours are not affected it is likely your drain is blocked and the responsibility lies with you.

The owner or occupier of the property is responsible for the repair and maintenance of drains which are inside the boundary of your property. If there is a fault or blockage with your drain which you are not able to resolve you will need to contact a reputable specialist contractor.

If you rent your property you are advised to discuss any problems you are experiencing with your landlord.


A sewer collects water and waste from the drains of more than one property. Sewers take sewage and rainwater to the wastewater treatment works. If there is a problem with drains or overflowing manholes outside the boundary of your property the responsibility is probably with Southern Water.

Telephone: 033 0303 0368

Road gullies

These are the grate-covered openings at the edge of the road and they drain surface water away.

If the drain itself is blocked it will be attended by the Council’s Highways Strategic Partner Balfour Beatty Living Places with specialist gully clearing equipment. In instances when water from the road channel cannot access drain as the grille is blocked by leaves, twigs or other debris, then the street cleansing team will attend and clear.

When extreme rainfall conditions are forecast, residents can help by raking off or knocking away any leaves or storm debris that might block road drains.

If you notice a problem with one of these please report it.

Report a gully issue

What is the role of the council?

In some circumstances, the blockage or problem may be more complex and will need investigation. In such cases, the council has legal powers to resolve disputes.

Report a drainage issue