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Blocked rainwater drain

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
6 replies 3.9K views
garfield33garfield33 Forumite
240 posts
Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
Hi MSE-ers, not specifically money related, just after advice/opinions!

We live in a city in a mid-terrace house on a street with about 100 houses on each side. Running underground parallel to the houses a little way down the yard is a rainwater drain, with a small grate in our yard to collect the rainwater (I assume other houses have the same kind of grate or similar).

Recently whenever there has been heavy rain this pipe overflows, but it’s (just) not rainwater that comes up – it smells pretty bad and there are what looks like granules too. When you look down the drain you just see a lump of solid ‘brown’.

The water company have been round and say that there is a blockage somewhere along the pipe, and it’s likely that someone further along has plumbed something that they shouldn’t in to the rainwater pipe – toilet / washing machine / dishwasher all look likely based on the state of our yard!

They’ve said they’re going to investigate, but I was wondering if anyone else has had this happen, and what I should expect in terms of what they can actually do, timeframes etc?

To find out who has plumbed into the rainwater pipe, will they need to go into the houses on the road to inspect their pipes? And if one of the owners knows they’ve done something they shouldn’t, could they just refuse the water company access? And then where does that leave us?

Also, should we be nudging the water company to ensure something gets done?

Any advice, information, previous experience welcome!
Thank you


  • JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
    16.6K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Depends but a number of houses may be part charged if the damage is found .
  • Do you have any updates on this?
  • garfield33garfield33 Forumite
    240 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    Hi plug25
    We had to call them out again as a plug of solid smelly 'brown' had blocked our drain, and dirty water was oozing up around it. They came out yesterday, and when they lifted the grate up, the water pressure pushed the plug out and went flowing down the garden, lovely.
    They've managed to clear the blockage, however when they put down cameras they could only get so far due to a swan neck in the pipes. They said there were a lot of wipes down there so a toilet being plumbed in is very likely.
    They talked about having to use dye to work out where things are coming from / going, but not in any great detail.

    I was considering reporting it to the council as I guess someone has broken planning rules by plumbing into this drain - but I don't know how they would find out who it is either!
  • RelievedSheffRelievedSheff Forumite
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    What age are the houses?

    It is very likely to be a combined sewer rather then a surface water only sewer in older terraced housing.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Agree with the post above.

    The sewer that serves my house also carries the surface water from 3 older houses(mine goes to soakaways)
  • garfield33garfield33 Forumite
    240 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    Hi everyone,
    I think the houses are 1910s.

    The water company said it's for surface water only, and that someone has plumbed in something that they shouldn't - so I assume there is also a sewage pipe they should have used.

    Also, by coincidence, I got chatting to someone who works at the local nature reserve which is about three streets away, he said that the local surface water drains feed into the stream there (whole area is terraces of a similar age) and they see 'unpleasantness' in their stream quite often.
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