Identifying Private & Lateral Drains

Public drainage

Drains and sewers run throughout the country, under homes, businesses and roads, operating without so much as a second thought from us. That is, until they stop working properly or completely break, at which point it’ll be a huge inconvenience for people. However, while you may think that drains and sewers are entirely public owned, there are in fact rules and regulations regarding their ownership that are important to be aware of when it comes to having drains repaired.

What are private sewers?

A sewer is a (large) pipe that carries wastewater from more than one property. These are often found running under several properties or towards the road. These sewers are mostly owned and maintained by local water and sewage companies.

A private sewer, on the other hand are sewers that are connected to groups of properties. Private sewers used to be the responsibility of the owners and/or occupants of the property but as of 1st October 2011 they became the responsibility of local water and sewage companies.

What is a lateral drain?

A drain is a pipe that is used to transport wastewater away from a single property. These drains belong to the owner of the property they are connected to, and as such they are the responsibility of the owner until the drain connects to someone else’s property or a sewer.

Almost all properties have their own private drains, with the property owner being responsible for any repairs and maintenance they require. For blocks of flats and apartment complexes, the drains are likely to be shared, which means the owners of each property share responsibility for the drains.

Lateral drains are the part of the drain that sit outside the boundary of the property. These parts may be located under a road, or land belonging to someone else. As of October 1st, 2011, lateral drains are the responsibility of local water and sewage companies.

Drain mapping

With the somewhat complex nature of who has responsibility for what part of what drain and what sewer, it can be difficult to ascertain whose job it is to get a problem fixed, which can lead to issues going unsolved while disputes continue. With drain mapping, the full blueprint of the drainage system can be viewed, meaning all ambiguity regarding ownership and responsibility of the drains is removed.

To clarify, any drain or sewer that exists within the boundary of a private property is responsibility of the owner/occupant of that property. As soon as that drain or sewer connects to another property, or extends beneath a public highway or footpath beyond the property boundary, it then becomes the responsibility of the water and sewage companies. Drain mapping will allow both yourself and water companies to identify where the drains and sewers stop being private and lateral, respectively, and become public.

Drain mapping also allows us to identify any potential trouble areas of a drain or sewer system, reducing the possibility of errors during repairs and construction, which can prove to be extremely expensive, should they happen.

At Express Drainage Surveys, we are experts in providing CCTV drainage surveys and drain mapping for commercial and domestic customers alike in the London area. Using state of the art technology, we can analyse, inspect and repair drains perfectly. For more information, please get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help you.