In East Staffordshire Severn Trent Water Ltd is now responsible for all sewers apart from the sewers serving just your property within the boundary of your property.

Severn Trent is not responsible for private treatment works, septic tanks and drains within property boundaries and surface water drains.

Drainage and sewers

How do I know if my drain is blocked?

If your drain is blocked you will usually know because your waste will stop going away when you flush the toilet, or gullies outside will overflow. There will also probably be a smell.

Why is my drain blocked?

  • Drains may be blocked because they are in poor physical condition and normal contents are not being cleared.
  • They may be in satisfactory condition but have been abused by flushing away disposable nappies, sanitary towels or other items such as condoms. Nappies and sanitary towels should be bagged; condoms should be wrapped in toilet tissue and all these items should be put into the wheeled bin.
  • Excessive disposal of cooking fats and oils. This can coat the inside of the pipe or sewer reducing the flow and then causing it to block up. Fat should be left to cool, wrapped and placed in the wheelie bin whilst cooled oil should be returned to the bottle before being placed in the bin.
  • Other domestic products and DIY materials such as plaster, can cause a blockage of the pipe work and small quantities should be disposed of in the wheelie bin.
  • Tree roots entering a broken drain can also be a problem.

Resolving a problem

If you think the problem is in a drain for which Severn Trent Water is responsible, contact Severn Trent Water on 0800 7834444.

If the problem is your responsibility then you need to take action. You can pay a specialist drain-clearing company to do this.

Search for a 'Drain and Pipe Cleaning' contractors located in East Staffordshire on the websites such as Yellow Pages. Contractors will usually try to clear the blockage with a high-pressure water jet. In some circumstances they may use a video camera or other equipment to investigate the problem further.

Rural Drainage

In many rural areas there are no main sewers and sewage has to be disposed of in other ways. There are various systems in use such as cess pits, septic tanks, and mini-treatment works.

Septic Tanks

A septic tank treats domestic sewage and discharges either into a watercourse or into the ground.

If a septic tank serves only your house then you alone are responsible for both maintaining and emptying the tank.

If several houses share the tank then the responsibility, and cost, is normally shared between the owners. If you rent your house privately, either you or your landlord may be responsible. Your tenancy agreement should specify who is responsible.


A cesspit is simply a sealed storage tank into which sewage is drained until it can be taken away by a tanker.

As with septic tanks the owner is responsible for getting the tank emptied. If you find it requires emptying on an increasingly frequent basis this may be due to damage to the tank that is allowing ground water in.

At the same time this could mean that sewage leaks outwards which could result in ESBC taking legal action to have the tank repaired or emptied.

Road Drains and Gullies

If a road drain is blocked phone Staffordshire County Council on 0300 1118000.

In times of very heavy rain, road drainage may not be able to cope for a short period even though it is not blocked. Only phone if the problem remains after the heavy rain has stopped.

Contact us

Environmental Health Team
Tel: 01283 508578