What is a public sewer


Public sewers are owned and maintained by us and are often located to the front, side or rear of domestic properties (shown as pink pipes in the illustration below). Almost all sewers that are shared by two or more properties, or serve a single property but are located outside of the property boundary, will be public. 


Private drains and sewers are the responsibility of the properties that use them. These pipes take sewage and rainwater within and away from your property, up to the boundary or to the point where it joins with pipework from another property (shown as yellow pipes in the example).

Please note that there are some exceptions to these general rules. Other examples of private drains and sewers include:

  • pipes connected to private treatment systems such as septic tanks, soakaways and private treatment works
  • pipes which do not connect to a public sewer such as surface water pipes which discharge directly to a watercourse
  • pipes that were installed on or after 1 July 2011 that have not been offered to us for adoption
  • pipes that are maintained privately as part of a single, centrally managed site such as a school, industrial estate or hospital

If you are still unsure about the ownership of the pipework within your property, please contact us and we will be happy to help. 

Diagram showing boundary of private and public pipework

There are no minor public sewers within 3 metres of your new building

You don't need to contact us, and you don't need to review our standard criteria. We have no comments regarding your works. The process ends here.

You are building near to the minor public sewer

e.g with in three metres of it
Find out more here