FAQs and Information


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

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?

There are a few simple steps you can take to help avoid sewer blockages in and around your home.

Two out of every five sewer blockages in our region are caused by sanitary products, and one out of every five are caused by fat, oil and grease. Some of the other worst offenders are items such as cleansing wipes, cotton buds and nappies.

By thinking about what you put down your toilets, sinks and drains, you can help to reduce blockages and decrease the risk of flooding. A blocked sewer is, of course, inconvenient for our customers but if it leads to sewer flooding it can be extremely unpleasant and stressful too.

Don’t pour fats, oils and greases down the sink or the toilet – even the tiniest amount can cause problems. They may be in liquid form going down, but they quickly solidify when they meet the cold sewer walls (even if you use detergent or pour hot water down after). The fats stick to the side of the sewer forming a concrete-like solid that attracts other debris, eventually causing a blockage.

Top tip: Wait for fat to cool after cooking and pour it in to an empty margarine tub, then when it’s full throw it in the bin.

Only human waste, toilet tissue and a small amount of household cleaning products should be flushed down the toilet. Don't flush:

  • sanitary products
  • kitchen roll
  • cleansing wipes
  • baby and facial wipes
  • nappies
  • cotton buds  

Top tip: Instead use nappy or sanitary bags then put them in the bin


Are my drains public or private?

Responsibility for sewer pipes

They're private up to the point of your property boundary. When a pipe crosses the property boundary or the section of pipe is shared with another property it then becomes our responsibility.

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For more information on sewer responsibilities, see our responsibility for sewer pipes page.


I have been flooded who will clean it up?

If your home or property has been flooded internally, you'll need to contact your household 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.

Where is my sewer/drain manhole?

A sewerage manhole cover is found along the line of where the sewer or drain runs. 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. A sewerage manhole cover is found along the line of where the sewer or drain runs. This is the same for public sewers and private drains. Not every property will have a manhole on their property, for example if you share a sewer it may be on a neighbouring property. For more information visit our responsibility for sewer pipes page.

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 connect my property development to the sewage network?

The process to connect a new development site to our public sewerage work is the same as for a single property.

You'll need to complete a series of application forms, which can all be found along with supporting information, in our Developer section.

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.

How do I know if my building or extension work is going to be near the sewer and water supply pipes?

If your building work is close to our pipework, you will need to let us know so we can make sure it won't affect the supply. You can request a water or sewer pipes map to see whether your building work is going to be close or going over our pipework.

Further information can be found in our Developers section.

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?

Your water services are provided by South East Water and so that you receive one bill for all of your water and sewerage services we have arranged for them to bill for waste water services on our behalf. Your bill is made up of three elements:


This is shown as ‘Water In’ on your bill and covers the volume of water you have used. A reading is taken from your meter to calculate your charges. There is also a Standing Charge which is a fixed annual sum based on the size of your meter. South East Water provide your water services.


This charge is also based on the water consumption registered through your meter. It is shown on your bill as ‘water out’ and covers the treatment of used water from your property.


This covers the taking away and treatment of rainwater from your property. It also includes a contribution towards the cost of producing bills, processing payments and dealing with customer enquiries.



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 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 do I do if I have no water OR low water pressure?

If you have no water or low pressure, there may be a problem in your area. You can check to see if something has already been reported at the Service updates section of our website. If the problem has not already been reported call our team on 0345 450 9549 and they'll be happy to help.

There are some checks you can do yourself too, to work out what the problem is.

1. Run your cold kitchen tap on a medium flow

If water comes out of this tap but nowhere else in your house the problem is likely to be with your internal plumbing.

2. Check your stop valves are open

Your inside stop valve needs to be fully open. This is usually located under your kitchen sink, if the valve is closed ensure that it is completely open.

3. Check with your neighbours

If they're having the same problems as you are, it's likely that there's a problem in your area.

Check the Service updates section of our website to see if you are affected by any on-going maintenance work or known incidents.

You should also check whether your neighbours have been doing any plumbing work on their homes. It's common that one supply pipe can supply more than one home, but your neighbours may not realise they've affected other homes.

If it's just your home or property that's being affected and your neighbours' supplies are all ok - You'll need to contact a plumber for help. If you've had some plumbing work done in the last 48 hours it could be related. You may have turned the stop tap off or something simple like that. If you're not sure, it's best to contact whoever carried out the work.

Contact us

If you've completed the above steps without success, it may be a problem we're not aware of. Please call us on 0345 450 9549 to let us know.

Where can I find my stop tap?

It will generally be in the same pit or chamber as your water meter.

What should I do about a damaged/broken stop tap cover?

If on your external stop tap the cover is damaged or broken, please call us on 0345 450 9549 so that we can arrange for it to be replaced.

Why are there banging noises in my pipes?

If you can hear noises or banging in the pipes inside the property, it's likely this will be linked to problems with the internal pipework. This could be anything from loose pipes, air locks or a water hammer failing. It would be best to contact a local plumber to help investigate and resolve this issue for you.

What should I do if my pipes are frozen?

• Turn off the water supply at the internal stop tap, this is usually located under the kitchen sink or in the downstairs cloakroom
• Check to see if the pipe has burst
• Open the affected tap
• Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap.
• Never use a naked flame, hairdryer or blowtorch to thaw the pipe.
• Don't leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen
• If you are in any doubt, turn off the internal stop tap and call a plumber

How can I protect against burst pipes?

Cold weather can cause problems to the water supply because when water freezes in a pipe it turns to ice and expands. As the ice expands, it increases pressure on the pipes and joints, often causing pipes to split or joints to pull apart.

You can protect your pipes and fittings from freezing by insulating all pipe work in unheated areas like lofts, roofs, garages and outbuildings. Your local plumbing merchants and DIY stores can help you to find the right insulation. Check all pipes inside your home are lagged and protected before the cold weather comes, and any bare pipes outside your home. If you're not confident in doing it yourself, a qualified plumber will be able to help you.

Make sure you have adequate insurance. You can insure your home against plumbing and drainage emergencies such as burst pipes with Homeserve.

Are there benefits of having a water meter?

The main benefit of having a water meter is that as you only pay for the water you use.

Meters encourage people to use water wisely and the usage data we collect helps us identify leaks.

How frequently will Severn Trent Connect read my meter?

We will normally read your meter on a half yearly basis.

Whose responsibility is the meter?

We are responsible for your meter and its maintenance.

It is imperative that you do not remove or tamper with it yourself as it is an offence to which may affect its ability to function correctly.

Please contact us if your meter has been damaged in any way.

What should I do if I think my meter is recording an inaccurate reading?

Our water meters are manufactured and tested to the British Standard specification.

If you think your meter is recording inaccurately, please contact us.

I have an urgent water quality problem. What should I do?

If you have an urgent water quality problem, please call us on 0345 450 9549.

What should I do if my water tastes/smells odd?

Our sources are of generally high quality and have appropriate treatment to ensure safety and quality at the customers tap.

All water sources contain many naturally occurring compounds and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium in varying concentrations that influence the waters’ taste. Without these minerals water, would taste flat and unappetising. Customer sensitivity to these mineral tastes varies but can be particularly noticed by those travelling or moving from another part of the country. There are several common causes of tastes and odours in drinking water, these are highlighted below. If any of our customers are concerned about their water, they should call us on 0345 450 9549.

Medicinal taste

This is often caused by a chemical reaction between chlorine and man-made plastic or rubber fixtures such as tap washers and dishwasher hoses. If you have recently changed an appliance this is the most likely reason for the sudden change in flavour.

Earthy taste

Surface water that passes through peaty land can sometimes develop a musty taste or odour. This is particularly the case after long periods of warm, dry weather. All our treatment works have processes in place to minimise any unpleasant natural smells.

Metallic taste

If water has been in sustained contact with copper, iron or galvanised pipes it can sometimes develop a slightly bitter taste. You might notice this after going away on holiday for a few weeks. Simply running a tap for a minute or two when you get home will generally fix the problem.

Petrol odour

If there has been a spillage of petrol, diesel or heating oil on your driveway or garden it may contaminate your water supply. This is because these substances can permeate through plastic service pipes. If you believe your water has a petrol or solvent taste it is important that you call us on 0345 450 9549 immediately and we will arrange for an investigation of your supply.

Chlorine odour

Levels are present in water supplies to maintain its safety and quality. Levels can still vary depending on the distance of the customer's house from the water treatment works, the time of year and even the time of day. A chlorine taste can be reduced by filling a jug and keeping it in the fridge for a few hours.

Find out more:

If you experience any other taste/odour or if you remain concerned about your water quality, please call us on 0345 450 9549.

What should I do if my water is discoloured/cloudy?

We continually test the water we supply to our customers to ensure it is safe.
However, during its journey to your taps there are several ways in which the appearance of your water can be affected and occasionally it can become discoloured or cloudy. Try these suggested techniques below to resolve your issue.



The issue will normally resolve itself, but if it’s been ongoing for a little while and you’re beginning to be concerned about your water quality, please call us on 0345 450 9549.



I have a query with my bill?

Please Check out our Your Bill page here or alternatively email us at customer@severntrentconnect.com

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Contact numbers

Operations - 0345 450 9549

Billing - 0247 771 5904



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