WaterFuture - Get into water

We’re aware of the distress that sewer flooding can cause and we work hard to prevent flooding from our sewers.


What causes sewer flooding?

There are lots of possible causes of flooding in your home, the most common are:

  • Weather
    When we have exceptional weather with intense or long periods of rainfall, the sewers can become overwhelmed and aren’t able to carry the additional water away quickly enough.

  • Blocked pipes
    Pipes can block with fatty build ups, root growth and non-flushable objects like wet wipes.


Who is responsible?

The table below shows who is responsible and contact details for each type of flooding:

Location Description Responsibility Contact details

Surface water on roads, highways and pavements

Blocked road drains / gullies and overgrown verges

Local Council Highways Department



Devon County Council Highways 
0345 155 1004

Cornwall County Council Highways
0300 1234 222

Dorset County Council Highways
01305 221020

Environment Agency
0800 80 70 60



Groundwater Waterlogged ground when water pools on the surface

Local Council or Landowner

Rivers and watercourses Water draining into rivers and streams from nearby land

Environment Agency or Landowner

Coastal / Tidal Rough seas, high tides or storm overflows on lower land Environment Agency
Public sewers Manholes and covers Us

Private sewers

Cesspits/ septic tanks, toilets or internal drains Homeowner


Learn more about how to protect your property from flooding on the BeFloodReady website.

Local authority map

If you are experiencing flooding which you believe has occurred from the highway, you can use the map to contact your local authority about the flooding.


Our responsibility

We’re responsible for clearing any blockages from the pipes highlighted in brown below. The pipes marked in blue are the responsibility of the homeowner.

You may find that a shared sewer pipe that you share with your neighbours runs through your land. In this case it would be classed as a public sewer/lateral drain and would be our responsibility.


How we can help

If you experience flooding from a public sewer or think that it is blocked, please call us on 0344 346 2020 so that we can investigate. We’ll clear any blockages and clean up any sewage debris outside your property.

If you have flooding inside your home, we can investigate and put you in touch with experts that can help with the clean up and talk with insurers.

Sewer flooding claim form

We are not generally liable for the escape of sewage, but we are sorry for any problems this may have caused. However you may be entitled to a Guaranteed Standard of Service payment under our customer promise.

If you are the account holder and believe you are entitled to a Customer Promise Payment, please complete the form here.

Other assistance

There are a number of schemes, charities and community groups which can assist with support, guidance and funding to help prevent, prepare for and recover from flooding.

Flood Re is a joint Government and insurance industry initiative to help you find affordable home insurance if you are at risk of flooding or have been flooded.

The National Flood Forum offers a dedicated helpline and online resource for all flood related enquiries and work with Government agencies and local authorities to represent communities.

Devon Community Resilience Forum and Cornwall Community Flood Forum are local groups who can help communities to plan for and recover from flooding.

Related Websites Resources
British Water Order Fat Traps
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health www.beachlive.co.uk
Coast What to do if your property is flooded by sewage
Consumer Council for Water Building Regulations 200
Defra  Love Your Loo
Environment Agency  Think Sink
Food Standards Agency  Sustainable Drainage
Marine Conservation Society  
The Met Office  
Water UK