Foul water drains are the pipes which carry waste water from one or more houses. When the pipes are serving more than one house they generally then become a public sewer.

Wessex Water is responsible for the maintenance of public sewers. The owner and/or occupier are responsible for the maintenance of private drains, until it enters a public sewer. For further guidance on responsibility of foul drainage please click on the link Wessex Water.

Who to report a problem to           


Who to Contact

Blocked road drains and gullies
Council Connect  01225 394041
Blocked public sewers and drains
Wessex Water 0345 600 4 600 operational.enquiries@wessexwater.co.uk
River polluted with sewage
Environment Agency - 0800 80 70 60
Blocked drain at your own property e.g. (Blocked private sewers/cesspits/septic tanks)
Contact your Landlord or private drainage contractors.  For details on approved drainage companies click on Buy with confidence
If you are being affected by a neighbouring property with any of the following e.g. (Blocked private drains /cesspits/septic tanks)
If you are unable to contact your neighbour directly, contact Environmental Protection 01225 477551 or environmental_protection@bathnes.gov.uk


What we can do

We can investigate concerns of ineffective private drains e.g. blocked private drain, sewage problems.

Our investigation process generally involves officers identifying who is responsible for the problem.

If we are unable to resolve the matter informally, then the Council can serve legal notices on the person(s) responsible.

For further information on foul drainage systems and responsibility including septic tanks, please download our leaflet Drainagefound on the right hand side of this page.

When making a complaint you must include:

  • Your name, address and if possible contact telephone number(s) and your email address

  • The address you are complaining about and details of the issue (e.g. overflowing septic tank from my neighbour’s property.)

  • When and for how long has this been an issue for you?

  • Anonymous complaints will not be investigated.

How we investigate

Complaints of private foul drainage issues can be investigated under the Building Act 1984. Factors that are examined during our investigation process are:

  • Who is responsible for the drain

  • The reason for the problem

  • The severity of the issue

Once we have received a formal complaint, we will investigate. Our initial investigation process generally involves establishing who is responsible, visiting to assess severity and determine next course of action if required.

Take your own Civil Action PDF



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