warning icon
For the most up to date service disruptions and information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) please follow these links

Drains and sewers

Find out on this page who is responsible for clearing and maintaining drains and sewers, and what to do if a problem affects your property.
Inside a sewer pipe


A drain is a pipe that carries sewage and surface (rain) water from a single property.

Responsibility for drains

If you own the property, the drains within the boundary of your property are your responsibility. It is up to you to clear the drains if they block and to maintain them. If you are a tenant, your landlord is responsible for these drains.
Outside the property boundary, the pipe becomes the responsibility of the local water authority. In Newham the local water authority is Thames Water Utilities Ltd.
We are not responsible for clearing or maintaining drains that serve homes and buildings.

Clearing your drains

Before clearing a blocked drain, check to see whether your insurance covers the work. If you cannot clear the blockage yourself, you can contact a specialist drainage contractor or plumber to clear the drain or repair it. If you are a tenant, contact your landlord.


A sewer is a pipe carrying sewage and surface water from more than one property.

Responsibility for sewers

All sewers are the responsibility of the local water authority.
Report problems with sewers directly to Thames Water on 08459 200 800 or go to the Thames Water website.
We are not responsible for clearing or maintaining sewers that serve homes and buildings.

Blocked drain or sewer?

Your drain or sewer

You will see if your drain or sewer is blocked if you flush the toilet and the waste does not go away. You may also see gullies outside your property overflowing, notice a smell around drains and inspection chambers or see that an inspection chamber on your property is full of water.
If none of your neighbours is affected then your drain is probably blocked. If your neighbours are also affected there is probably a problem with the sewer.

Blocked road drain

If you notice a blocked road drain/grate on the street, you can report it to us online.
Report a blocked road drain or gully
Back to top