My house is flooding - who can help me?
Sand-bags may (subject to resources and availability) be distributed on request by your district council in an emergency if your property is being flooded from surrounding land. We (the highway authority) may be able to supply some if the flooding originates directly from the highway but you should approach the district council in the first instance. However, if you know you are at risk of flooding, you are advised to keep a supply yourself, not least because at times you need them it is likely that others will too and they may be in short supply. They may be purchased from builders merchants. Sand-bags made of Hessian may rot in time, so those made of polyester are preferable if they are to be stored for long periods.
My drain has blocked - who is responsible?
There are several different piped drainage systems that may exist in the vicinity of properties, some of which are conveyed under the highway. The different systems are separate from each other (except for some historic anomalies) and must be kept as such.
1) Foul drainage: you are responsible for wastewater from inside buildings such as from sinks, toilets, washing machines etc. You are responsible for the private foul sewers within your property, as shown on your deeds, to the point where they connect to the public foul sewer. The public foul sewer is the responsibility of the sewage authority (eg. Southern Water, Thames Water, Wessex Water), even if it lies within the highway. Your foul water may drain to a septic tank instead of to a public foul sewer.
2) Surface-water drainage:you are responsible for drainage from your property, including rain falling on the roofs and gardens. You are responsible for the private surface-water sewers within your property if any, as shown on your deeds, to the point where they connect to the public surface-water sewer. The public surface-water sewer is also the responsibility of the sewage authority (eg. Southern Water, Thames Water, Wessex Water), even if it lies within the highway. Your surface-water may drain to soakaways instead of to a public surface-water sewer.
3) Highway drainage: drains and pipes provided specifically and exclusively to drain the highway.
We are responsible only for the drains provided specifically to drain the highway. You should approach the sewage authority (to which you pay your water bills) for problems with other public drains, including those into which drainage from your property outfalls, even if they exist within the highway.
We may be able to help if water flowing off the highway because of defective highway drainage, is causing you problems.
Foul sewers are not designed to accommodate flood water and discharging into them will quickly overwhelm them, causing surcharge and flooding of foul water. It is important therefore that flood water is not discharged into the foul sewer system. Sewers are not water-tight and flood water may enter the system, causing it to surcharge.