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Home > Environment > Environmental Health > Drainage & Sewers > Blocked or Defective Drains

Blocked or Defective Drains

The Drain serving just my property is blocked or defective. What do I do?

Blocked-drainIf a drain is blocked or defective the responsibility lies with the owner of the property served by the sewer. If the property is rented, liability may fall to the landlord.

The blockage or defect affects other properties as well as mine.

  • Drain: responsibility falls on the owner or occupier of the property.
  • Private Shared Sewer: responsibility generally falls to the Local Water authority. Within the Dover District, this is Southern Water who can be contacted on 0845 278 0845
  • Shared Sewer: dealt with by the Local Water Authority Southern Water (Emergencies)
  • Main Sewer: dealt with by the Local Water Authority Southern Water (Emergencies)

The following diagram gives examples of the sewers described above


General Rules

If pipe (A) is blocked or faulty then the responsibility lies with the property owners at house  1, 2 or 3 to ensure that their blockage is removed or the fault is repaired to their individual pipework up to their boundary.

If  pipe (B) is blocked or faulty the water authority would normally be responsible for clearing any blockages and repairs.


If a Private Shared Sewer were blocked at point X on the diagram, all 3 properties would be affected. One or all of the properties should contact Southern Water.

If the blockage occurs at point Y only house 3 is affected, however the blockage is on the shared sewer so the responsibility for clearing the blockage will lie with the local water authority, Southern Water

Should the Sewer block at (C) the responsibility for clearing the blockage will lie with the local water authority, Southern Water.

Doesn’t my Water Rates and Council Tax cover it?

Water rates do not cover problems encountered with drains.  The rates go towards the treatment of sewage, upkeep of the main sewers and contribute to the provision and maintenance of a supply of water.

The Council are responsible only for the drains that serve their properties, Dover District Council do not have responsibility for any other drainage.

Council Properties

Where the responsibility is not Southern Water please contact the Council by using the contact details here Report a repair.

In the event of a problem with a drain it may be worth consulting your household insurance policy as some insurers do cover drainage issues.



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