What is it?

Sewer flooding is one of the most distressing things that can go wrong with wastewater. It’s when sewage from our network backs up and overflows into homes and gardens. This is usually through the toilet or outside drains.

This is different from sewage pollution which is when sewage gets into local water courses (rivers, seas and lakes etc).

When does it happen?

There are two main causes of sewer flooding.

  1. Blockages – when pipes get blocked, the sewage builds up and starts to build up and spill over from manholes in the street or in your garden.
  2. Weather – when we have lots of rain, sometimes our sewers get overwhelmed and can’t carry the water away quick enough.

What do I do if a sewer is flooding my home?

The first thing to do is call us on 0344 346 2020 so that we can investigate and help you through your options.

If the problem stems from sewers that belong to us, we’ll come and clear any blockages.

If the flooding is external, we’ll also clear up any sewage debris outside your property.

If the flooding is internal, we’ll put you in touch with companies who specialise in property flooding clean-up. These experts will also be able to advise you on any insurance claims you need to make.

Our Customer Promise

You may be entitled to a guaranteed standard of service payment under Our Customer Promise.

For internal flooding that we know about and was caused by a problem in our sewers, we’ll make an automatic payment equal to your annual sewerage charge. If we don’t know about it, you can make a claim within three months of the incident by filling out the form below.

For external flooding that was caused by our sewers, you can claim up to half your annual sewerage charges. To do so, use the form below.

For full details, please refer to Our Customer Promise.

Other help and support

There are a number of schemes, charities and community groups who give support, guidance and funding to help prevent and recover from flooding events.

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.

What’s South West Water doing about sewer flooding?

We clear around 8,500 blockages every year to keep our sewers flowing properly. We’re also working closely with communities to help prevent blockages from occurring in the first place. This includes working in close partnership with local councils, Highways, and the Environment Agency.

We’re also continually improving our network and increasing its capacity. With each upgrade it’s able to cope better with sudden high volumes and flow rates.