Sewer pipe responsibility
So, who owns the pipes in your home and property?

Northumbrian Water is responsible for the public sewers. These are outside property boundaries, under footpaths and roads.  We maintain and fix them. 


Most of our customers are connected to the sewer network, which are underground, and in your property boundary. Private sewers are the responsibility of the homeowner.

These include:

  • Gutters, downpipes, gullies and soil stacks. 
  • Private sewerage treatment works and septic tanks. 
  • Shared drains serving flats, including Tyneside flats or a block of flats within a single boundary remain the shared responsibility of the owners. 
  • Surface water sewers which do not connect into a public sewer – for example draining directly to a watercourse or soak away.
I’m unsure if the sewer is private?

If you need to find out if a sewer is private or our responsibility, we may be able to tell you over the phone. If we can't, a technician will visit you to confirm if the sewer is our responsibility, or if it is yours.


Appointment times for checking responsibility can vary. If you have an an emergency, such as flooding or blockages to sewers we aim to arrive within four hours.


We will only carry out work on sewers that are our responsibility. If we arrive and find it's a private issue, it means it's the homeowners' responsibility to fix it. If you are the homeowner, or a tenant, you'll need to call a drainage company or your landlord to help you further.

Do I own the drain covers in my garden?

Are you having trouble with a cover in your driveway or garden? Get in touch with us, so we can help.


Our team may be able to tell you who owns the covers over the phone, but if they can't, we can send a technician out to you.


Once our technician arrives, they'll be able to tell you if the cover is our responsibility, or if it is yours.


Please note appointment times can vary, but our team will let you know the timescales involved depending on the circumstances.

Helpful links

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