Drains and Sewers

Drains pipe away dirty water and foul sewage (from bathrooms and kitchens) and surface water (including rain water) from a single property. Lateral Drains are found outside a property boundary (in a neighbouring garden or the highway) and connect a property's drainage system to the public sewer system.
Sewers are shared drains, piping away dirty water and foul sewage from more than one property.


On 1 October 2011, the ownership of private sewers and lateral drains transferred to the ten regional statutory water and sewerage companies: in Amber Valley Borough Council's administrative area, ownership transferred to Severn Trent Water Limited.  Detailed information and advice on drainage issues can be found on Severn Trent Water's website or by calling 0800 783 4444.

Responsibility for the following sewers did not transfer to the statutory water and sewerage companies:

  • Private drains within the property boundary, which serve just that property, remain the responsibility of the owner (or owners if the property is a flat or apartment);
  • Surface water sewers that drain direct to watercourses (Environment Agency);
  • Land drainage (Amber Valley Borough Council) and highway drainage (see below);
  • Privately owned septic tanks and cess pools/pits (see below);
  • Privately owned sewage treatment works and the associated pipe work.

Septic tanks and cess pools/pits

Septic tank systems and cess pools/pits are solely the responsibility of the properties connected into them irrespective of when they were built.  Amber Valley Borough Council will still investigate complaints about faulty systems.  The discharge from a septic tank is still licensed by the Environment Agency. 

Blocked or defective surface water drains (located in the road)

Blocked gullies, grates, ditches or drains that cause road flooding should be reported to Derbyshire County Council at 'Call Derbyshire' on 01629 533190. 

Surface water drainage

Section 59 of the Building Act 1984 allows the Council to require that satisfactory provision is made for the drainage of buildings, including such work as may be necessary for renewing, repairing or cleansing an existing cesspool, private drain (within the property boundary), pipe, spout, sink or other appliance, or for filling up, removing or otherwise rendering innocuous a disused cesspool or private drain.

In 2012, we still dealt with 43 complaints about drainage.

Last updated: September 2013

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