Basic difference between Drain and sewer

Drain is the pipe which carries wastewater from a building and other adjacent buildings which belong with it and then drains it out.

A lateral drain is a pipe which drains waste and water away from your building. It is located outside your building under a public walkway or road.


A sewer is a pipe which drains wastewater from number of buildings. There are still some sewers that are owned by private sewers but most of the sewers are owned and maintained by public water company. If you are not connected to any sewer then you don’t have to pay sewerage charges to a sewer company. If some people are not connected to a sewer then they should connect to a cesspool, septic tank or treatment plant.

A cesspit is a sealed storage tank that collects sewage in it until it can be taken away by a tanker. There is no possibility of treating sewage in the tank itself. Previously cesspits are usually made from either brick or concrete but now they are made from fiber glass, steel or polyethylene.

Septic Tanks
A septic tank treat domestic sewage and then discharge them either into a watercourse or into the ground.

Further information related to who is responsible for drains and to whom you can contact can be found on Severn Trent Contact Number.

Who is responsible for maintenance of Drains and sewers?

Repairs to drains
If there is any drain pipe that is connected to your house inside the boundaries of your property then you are responsible for maintaining or repairing of it.

There are two options for paying either you can pay for it or you can choose any insurance company to pay on behalf of you for the work done related to any private drain system.

Sometimes, you may also require having insurance for the drain to your building. You can check this with your property insurance company whether this is the case or not.

In some situations, your local authority environmental health department may order you to carry out maintenance work or replacement of a private drain system. Reason behind doing such activity might be, if they think that your drain system is too small for your building or by any chance if it is creating a blockage.

If required, a local authority can carry out the work and then charge you for it.

Repairs to sewers
Previously, maintenance of sewers and drains that are connected to the public network used to be the responsibility of the property owner who owns it or taking care of it. However, most of them are now maintained or replaced by local water companies. So if you are facing any such problems related to sewer or lateral drain system regarding blockage or leakage then you can contact your local water company.

Make sure in such cases your water company has the right to enter in your property if they have to in order to inspect or maintain the drain or sewer system.

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