Sewers and drains explained

There are an awful lot of pipes, drains and sewers hidden away from view inside homes and under the ground – so it’s worth bearing in mind that responsibility for their upkeep is in the hands of different organisations and people – including you!

It's important to know who's responsible for which parts.

Diagram of typical sewer pipe responsibility:
Typical sewer pipe responsibility

For more detailed information, please see our Simple Guide to Water Pipes, Drains and Sewers by clicking the button below (PDF 1,246 KB opens in a new window).

View PDF

What you're responsible for:

The pipes, gutters, gullies and drains in and around your home, including the drains from your property up to your boundary unless shared. If it is a shared sewer where several neighbouring properties' drains meet together before they join the public sewer, in this case this is our responsibility to maintain (see below).

If you're unsure of your responsibilities, please don't worry - give us a call on 0345 672 3723, we'll be happy to help.

What United Utilities is responsible for:

The big public sewers that take sewage and rainwater run-off to our wastewater treatment works (as well as the pipes from the boundary of your property up to where they connect into the public sewer).

Shared sewers where several properties' drains meet together before they join the public sewer can also be our responsibility to maintain - so if you suspect that this is blocked, please Contact us.

What your local authority is responsible for:

Highway gullies, also known as road gullies; these are small grate-covered openings at the edge of roads, and are used to drain surface water from the highway. If you’re worried about blockages or smells from these please call your council.