Report a blockage
Sewer blockages and flooding
We work hard to reduce the risk of sewer flooding which can be caused by a blocked sewer, the failure of a pumping station or exceptional weather which can overwhelm our system.
You can help to reduce the risk of a blocked sewer by remembering to only flush the three Ps down your toilet. Find out how you can help avoid blockages.
But what happens if you are affected by one of the 13,000 blockages we deal with every year? The following steps will guide you.
1. Identifying a blockage
Here are four signs which can help to identify that you have a blockage:
- gurgling sounds coming from drains and plumbing
- water or waste that’s slow to drain or not draining, including plug holes
- water backing up or overfilling
- raw sewage or wastewater returning into your home.
2. What to do if you have a blockage?
If the blockage is in your home, it is your responsibility to unblock it. You are responsible for the drains that serve your home up to the boundary of your property or to the point where it joins with pipework from another property. Whichever is closest.
Our guide to pipework responsibility will help you to check whether the blocked pipe is yours or ours. Remember to check your household insurance if it is your responsibility as you might be covered for the cost of clearing the blockage.
3. Internal flooding
Internal flooding is less common and can be caused when the system backs up through the internal drains inside your property.
If the flooding is caused by public sewer, we aim to respond to internal sewage flooding incidents within two hours.
We will also provide a clean up service, where possible, within 12 hours where your property is flooded internally.
4. External flooding
If the flooding is caused by public sewer, we aim to respond to a report of external flooding within four hours.
You can check whether we have already been told about the external flooding incident - see Work in your area.
During extreme weather events it might take a little longer to respond than four hours.
In the event of external flooding we will provide a clean up service where possible within 24 hours.
5. What you should do?
If you experience sewer flooding, you should take the following precautions to protect both you and your family:
- avoid contact with sewage wherever possible
- wear protective clothing
- protect any cuts and grazes
- dispose of any vegetables or fruit growing in your garden if it is flooded
- keep your children away from flooded areas for at least seven days after the area has been disinfected
- consult your doctor if you suffer vomiting or diarrhoea following a flooding incident.
6. What happens next?
If the flooding is caused by:
- a blockage in a public sewer, we'll arrange for the blockage to be cleared at our cost
- exceptional weather, we'll clean up and assess whether any remedial work can be carried out.
- a problem in your private drain, you'll be responsible and will need to arrange for a plumber to fix it.
If your property has been flooded internally or externally from a public sewer you will receive compensation.
Under our Wessex Water Promise:
- if your property has been flooded internally from a public sewer you will automatically receive an amount equivalent to your annual sewerage charges or £150 – whichever is the greater – subject to a maximum of £1,000 per incident
- in each case of external flooding from a public sewer, you can claim compensation equivalent to 50% of your annual sewerage charges or £75 – whichever is greater – subject to a maximum of £500 per incident.