Useful tips on how to keep your drains and sewers flowing.

Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions about our services.

Try our question bank to get an answer to your query. If you can't find what you are looking for please contact us and we will be happy to help.


What should I do if I have a blockage?

Blocked sinks and toilets are really unpleasant. They are usually caused by blocked sewers in or near your home.

You'll need to check who's responsible for what to understand who'll need to be contacted.

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There are two types of sewers - private and public.

Private drains and sewers belong to you, the customer. We offer a fixed fee service whereby we will spend up to four hours investigating and clearing a blockage. If the blockage then re-occurs within 14 days we will clear it again for free, unless there is evidence of misuse. Alternatively, you can call a plumber or an independent drain clearing company to help you with this.

Public sewers belong to us here at Severn Trent Connect,please call us on 0345 450 9549 to let us know if you believe you have a problem with the public sewer serving your property. 

There are also public highway drains and gulleys,  you'll need to contact your local authority to help with this.

If you're at risk of flooding because of severe weather, visit our flooding advice page.

What can I do to help prevent blockages?

Please see out 'Clean drains are good for business' page for information on how you can protect your business.

I have been flooded who will clean it up?

If your business property has been flooded internally, you'll need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible (failure to notify insurers will jeopardise any future claims). Depending on your level of insurance, your insurance company will arrange clean up, disinfectant and replacement of any damaged property.

If you've experienced sewage flooding on your property, and you think it's because one of our sewer pipes is blocked call us on 0345 450 9549 to let us know. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We're sorry if you have been unfortunate enough to suffer sewage flooding due to a problem on our sewer, you may be entitled to a payment under our guaranteed service standards scheme.

How do I report a smell of sewage outside my property?

A smell of sewage could be an early indication of a problem in the sewers or drains. To report sewage smell, outside your property or in a public place, call us on 0345 450 9549

If the smell is inside your property, particularly if it is coming from your downstairs sink, it is likely to be your private drainage and may indicate a blockage. We offer a fixed fee service whereby we will spend up to four hours investigating and clearing a blockage. If the blockage then re-occurs within 14 days we will clear it again for free, unless there is evidence of misuse.  

Who is responsible for the manhole on my property?

Responsibilities for sewers and drains changed in October 2011

In October 2011 the transfer took place and all sewers, and sewer apparatus, outside of your property boundaries and any sewers shared with another property transferred to the ownership to your water company. If the manhole is inside you property boundary and is not shared with another property the manhole will be your responsibility.

To report a problem with a manhole on our public sewer call us on 0345 450 9549.

For more information see our responsibilities for sewer pipes page.

What is the purpose of a sewer/drain manhole?

A sewerage manhole, or inspection chamber, is there to allow maintenance on the underground public sewer or drain. A manhole is usually 2ft in wide, can be round or triangular, and is made of heavy duty metal.

What is a lateral drain?

A lateral drain will run across properties that share a sewer. It is the section of pipe that crosses the boundary of the property it's serving, and runs across property boundaries that are on a shared sewer.

For more information see our responsibility for sewer pipes page.

What is a drain?

A drain is the pipe that takes foul or surface water away from a property. The drain that runs from the connection to your property up to the point it crosses the property boundary is called the sewerage pipe.  A drain becomes a sewer when more than one property uses the same section of pipe.

For more information and to see a diagram of the property and pipe boundaries, visit our responsibility for sewer pipes page.

How do I report a noisy, broken or dangerous manhole cover?

Please let us know if you spot anything wrong with one of our covers. If you see a cover that's noisy, broken and/or could be dangerous, call us on 0345 450 9549 to let us know so we can get it fixed. The cover could be for electrical, gas, TV, internet or council supplies, so we'll need as much information as you can to make sure it's fixed as quickly as possible. If you can, let us know the size, where it is, and if there are any markings on it, that will help us identify it.

What is a road gully and who is responsible for it?

Road gulleys are small chambers covered by a metal grating found in the gutter of a roadway. They are used to collect surface water from the road and are the responsibility of your local councils Highways Authority.

You can find the contact number for your local council here.

How do I get my home or business connected to the sewer network?

To connect a single property (for your home or business), you will need to complete an application form and send it to us before you can start working on it. All of the details of how to apply are on the Developers section of our website.

What is a sewage pumping station?

A sewage pumping station is used to move sewage from one place to another (either to a sewage works or a receiving gravity sewer) when gravity can't be relied on. They can be found in rural areas where they may convey the sewage from a village to another location, and also in urban areas where low lying land may prevent the flow via gravity. Pumping stations are sometimes built to replace smaller sewage works as they cost less to operate and maintain, and require a smaller footprint.

We're currently working to make sure we know where all of the pumping stations are, as some were built quite a while ago, and making sure the ownership is correct for them. So if you have one on your property or near by, let us know so we can check it out.

What is a cesspit?

A cesspit, also know as cesspool, is a tank which takes the sewage draining from a property. The tank is used only to store the sewage until it is collected. It should be watertight and must be emptied frequently. They're normally located within the property boundary.

Cesspit/Cesspools usually serve one property and are owned and maintained by the owner of the property. If the cesspit serves more than one property then it will usually be jointly maintained by the owners of the properties which it serves. You can find cesspit maintenance and emptying services in your local telephone directory.

What is a sewage storing tank?

Storage tanks are used to store sewage in the event of a storm. Some return the sewage to the sewer by gravity after the storm has passed, others (similar to pumping stations) will pump the stored sewage back in the sewer.

What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is a small sewage treatment system used for properties where there's no connection to main sewer pipes available. Sewage drains into the septic tank from one or more properties and is treated by bacteria in the tank. Septic tanks usually have an outlet to an effluent drain or soak-away.

Septic tanks usually serve one property and are owned and are maintained by the owner of the property. If the septic tank serves more than one property then it will usually be jointly maintained by the owners of the properties which it serves. If you need maintenance to be done on your septic tank you can find companies in your local telephony directory.

How can I find out if my property is currently at risk of flooding?

The Environment Agency provide a free Flood Warning information service where you can check if you are currently at risk from river, coastal or groundwater flooding. Click here to find out more.

How do I tell you about a problem with my services?

Please use our Report a Problem form to let us know so that we can investigate and get the problem fixed for you. Alternatively you can call our Customer Services team on 0345 450 9549.  

What services am I paying for?

Our Wastewater charge tariffs consist of both fixed and variable charges.



Fixed charges cover the cost of taking away and treating rainwater from your property and the highway. They also include a contribution towards the cost of producing bills, processing payments and dealing with customer enquiries. For Business customers the fixed charges are based on the size of the supply pipe serving the property and the level of usage.



Variable charges cover the cost of taking away and treatment of used water from your property.

The charges are based on the consumption registered through the water meter fitted at the property, multiplied by the relevant pence per cubic metre charge. For business customers the variable charge rate applied is determined by the volume of water used.

If a household or business property is not served by a meter, the charge is based on the property’s rateable value multiplied by the relevant rate of pence per £RV. 



If you are a business customer without a water meter and your property does not have a rateable value, we may base our charges on an assessment of the volume of water you use to calculate the variable part of your charges. The fixed charges for Business Assessed customers are based on the level of assessed usage and the size of the supply pipe serving the property. 



If your business has a trade effluent consent you will also pay an amount based on the strength of the trade effluent discharge from your premises.

For full details of all our tariffs please see our Scheme of Charges.

What should I do if I experience sewer flooding?

Sewer flooding happens for a number of reasons and we can’t always prevent it. It's most likely to occur during storms, when large volumes of rainwater enter the sewers. Sewer flooding can also occur when our pipes become blocked. Call our 24-hour emergency number 0345 450 9549 immediately to report incidents of sewer flooding or if your property has suffered sewer flooding.

Is the flooding our responsibility?

It’s important that we know whether the flooding is from a sewer (our responsibility) or another source so we can give you the very best possible help and advice.

Public sewer flooding

It is likely to be our responsibility if:

•Your property and others are experiencing sewer flooding

•There’s foul debris, like toilet paper or sanitary products, in the water. See our top tips to help to prevent a blockage.

•The flooding is coming from a public sewer.  

If you have suffered flooding from a public sewer you may be entitled to a payment under our Guaranteed Service Standards scheme .

Private sewer flooding

It's likely to be your responsibility if:

•Your property is the only one experiencing sewer flooding

•You don't share drainage with any other property

•There's no other flooding locally

•The flooding is coming from your private drain or sewer.

Public highway flooding

If the problem arises from a highway drain or gully and there is no foul debris in the flooding, it is likely to be the responsibility of the Local Authority. In these cases you should contact your Local Authority.

River flooding

River flooding occurs from a main river and there is no foul debris in the flood water, then you should contact the Environment Agency. Visit the Environment Agency's website for useful information about river flooding and general information about flood warnings.

Surface water flooding

Lead Local Flood Authorities were established in 2010 and are responsible for managaing flood risk from surface water. ground water and smaller local watercourses (not main rivers). To report surface water flooding, ground water flooding or flooding from local watercourse you should contact your Lead Local Flood Authority (Unitary Authorities and County Councils) or your Local Authority (e.g District Councils). 

Land drainage

Fields can get waterlogged by heavy rain or through inadequate drainage. The responsibility normally lies with the landowner and you should contact the landowner to establish who is responsible.

Insurance Claims

If your home or property is flooded internally, you should contact your household insurers as soon as possible to arrange clean up, disinfectant and replacement of any damaged property. After sewer flooding we will do our best to find out why it happened and see if there is anything that can, within reason, be done to stop it happening again and we'll let you know the outcome of any investigations.

There is some really helpful information on the Environment Agency website about how to plan and deal with sewer flooding.

What should I do during a flooding event?

Severe weather and heavy rain can cause flooding, especially in the low-lying areas. It's very unpleasant and difficult to deal with - so we have produced some advice on what you can do.

What could happen during flooding?

•In your home, drains could stop flowing and sewage could back up into your sinks, toilets, baths etc.

•Outside you may see sewer flooding coming through public drains, sewers, and possibly even from man holes

What do you need to do if you’re in a flood risk area?

•Gather essentials so that you can quickly evacuate, for example - torches, food, first aid kits and any medication needed

•If you are able to prepare your property, move valuables to higher shelves or up stairs and turn off your water, gas and electricity main supplies where it is safe to do so

•Stay out of the floodwater; it can be very hazardous to health. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands if you do come in to contact with it. Also, running water can be deceptively fast and strong, so it’s best to avoid walking or driving through any flood water

•Evacuate when told, and follow advice from the emergency services

Where can you get the latest updates for your area?

•Environment Agency flood alerts can be found here.

•Met office weather alerts

•Local travel updates

•Public health advice on flooding

Where can you go for help?

•To find out who's responsible for what and to understand how we can help, visit our flooding advice page

•For more detailed information about what to do during flooding, visit the Environment Agency’s flood advice page

What you should do after flooding?

•Contact your insurance company to let them know

•Do not turn on any electrical or gas supplies without making sure they have dried out first

•Be careful of any broken glass or other debris that may have been caused by the flooding

•You may need to boil your water before using it

What is Trade Effluent?

Trade effluent is anything which is not domestic sewage (toilet, bath or handwashing waste) or uncontaminated surface water and roof drainage (rainwater). Wastewater discharges from hotels, pubs, restaurants, takeaways and caravan parks are not classed as trade effluent.

Fore more information please see our Trade Effluent page.

What is surface water drainage?

The rain that falls on your roofs, yards and other parts of your property drains away to the public sewers. This is called surface water. We include the cost of removing this surface water in the sewerage charges on your bill. For some customers, surface water or groundwater may not drain into the public sewer. If you are in this category you may be able to claim for a reduction in your sewerage charges. Please contact us if you believe that your property does not benefit from these services.

What should I do if I experience a trade effluent spillage on site?

Take prompt action to prevent or minimize any discharge to your site drains and the sewerage network.

Ensure that you have an incident procedure in place, and that all staff are familiar with it.

Site drainage plans and materials Safety Data sheets should be readily available.

Any material spilled should be prevented from entering drains if at all possible, but if any of it does get into the site drainage system, please ring Severn Trent Connect immediately on 0345 450 9549 with details of the substances involved, location of the spillage and likely quantities discharged.

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