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Drains and sewers


Owners are responsible for drains within the curtilage of a property – this is usually up to the boundary of the property. In some cases this responsibility can extend beyond the boundary. Where the drains are shared, the mains water company (Wessex Water or South West Water) are responsible.


The water company is responsible for sewers – the pipes carry waste and water from properties.

Further information about drain and sewer responsibilities can be found on the Wessex Water website.

Road Gullies

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

Septic tanks, cesspools, and treatment plants are used to treat foul waste in areas where there is no main sewer. It’s usually up to the householder or the landlord to manage them. We can investigate problems with private drainage where the system is defective and causing localised pollution.

Laws and regulation

We have an 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 those 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.