Drainage and sewers
You may have a problem with the drains serving your property if your sink gully is overflowing, your toilet is blocked or the inspection chamber outside is overflowing.
The owner or occupier is responsible for cleaning and carrying out any necessary repairs to drains within private properties.
The Council can offer advice and guidance and has certain legal powers to deal with issues on privately owned property.
However not all drainage problems are as a result of a problem occurring within a property. If the defect is outside then it depends where it is in the drainage system as to who is responsible.
Explanation of drains and sewers
- A private drain is a pipe carrying waste water / sewage or surface water from an individual property. These are often referred to as private drains as the responsibility for maintenance, repair and clearance lies with the owner of the property;
- a lateral drain is the part of a drain which lies outside the property boundary, and in some cases, can be located within a neighbours garden, or an alleyway, or road beyond the property; and
a sewer is a pipe that carries waste water / sewage or surface water from more than one property.
The Council holds copies of the public sewer map (i.e. sewers that are the responsibility of Yorkshire Water) for inspection by members of the public. If you need information about the position of public sewers, you can contact Yorkshire Water or, alternatively, view the computer record of the maps at Halifax Customer First. Anyone requiring a print from the public sector record must contact Yorkshire Water| direct. The Council does not hold detailed records of any private drainage.
Sewers that connect to private treatment works, connect to a septic tank or carry water directly to a watercourse are not the responsibility of Yorkshire Water; they are private responsibility.
Finding out who is responsible
You could ask your neighbours and see if they are experiencing similar problems. If they are not affected it is likely that the problem relates to a private drain and it is your responsibility to clear the blockage and / or repair the drain. You may wish to contact your insurance company and see if you are covered by your policy. If you are unable to clear the blockage yourself you can contact a plumber or specialist drainage contractor.
If your neighbours are affected it is likely the problem is in the sewer and it may be the responsibility of the water company. To get a better understanding of who is responsible for the sewer contact Yorkshire Water|.
If you are a tenant of a rented property, you should contact your landlord or Housing Association and request that they resolve the matter for you.
The Council’s role in relation to private drains
The Council’s role is to safeguard public health and in circumstances where there is a defect on a private drain we will generally serve a legal notice on the owner of the property requiring them to undertake the necessary work to resolve the problem. In the event of the notice not being complied with, we will organise a contractor to undertake the works and recharge you. This will be a more expensive option than undertaking the work yourself.
- If your problems concerning a private drain or sewer arise out of office hours and the situation is urgent, contact the Council's out of hours service;
- For information or advice contact Environmental Health.