Sewers and drains explained

What am I responsible for?

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!

  • What you're responsible for: the pipes, gutters and drains in and around your home, including the drains from your property up to your boundary (unless it is a shared drain 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 drains where several properties' drains meet together before they join the public sewer are also our responsibility to maintain - so if you suspect that this is blocked, please Contact us
  • What your local authority is responsible for: 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

Typical sewer pipe responsibility

For more detailed information, please see our Simple Guide to Water Pipes, Drains and Sewers (PDF 490 KB opens in a new window)