Toggle menu

Drainage and sewers

We have a legal obligation to ensure those responsible for the maintenance of drainage carry out their duties. This is to keep the borough free from public health hazards.

In October 2011, this responsibility was transferred to Northumbria Water. This includes repairs and maintenance work on the majority of sewers and drains.

If drains are within land in the same ownership as the house and not shared with anyone else, the responsibility remains with the owner.

If you have a problem and you believe that the cause lies outside your property (or is in a drain shared with your neighbours), you should contact Northumbrian Water on 0845 717 1100. They will advise further and arrange for work to be carried out if it is their responsibility.

You can find more information on the Northumbrian Water website. (opens new window)

If you experience a problem and wish to confirm responsibility, please contact the Private Sector Housing Renewal team on 0191 433 3000. You can also contact them if someone that you believe is responsible fails to carry out any work.

Council houses

We handle drains and sewers in council-owned properties.

Tenants experiencing drainage problems should contact the Repair Reporting Service or their local housing office.

Work in the Public Highway

Our Transport and Highways service handle problems with highway drainage. They also deal with the provision of new highway drains where necessary. Highway drains include surface water or road gulleys that keep roads free from flooding.

It is an offence to pour anything other than clean water down a road gully.

If you need to carry out works to your private sewer and you need a footpath, road or a rear lane dug up, contact Jimmy Young at Transport and Highways on 0191 433 3073.

To report a road gulley that's blocked, overflowing or defective contact Local Environmental Services on 433 7000.

New drainage work

All drainage systems installed during new building work must follow Part H of the current Building Regulations. For more information visit the  page.

Garden Groundwater

Water is present in the ground. The water content will depend upon:

  • sub-soil composition
  • geographical position
  • topography
  • climate and weather

Groundwater tends to increase over long wet spells and decrease over long dry spells. Seasonal increases can often be a nuisance in gardens. 

Since groundwater is usually a natural occurrence, it's the responsibility of landowners to deal with excess water. 

It may be possible to pipe the water via a field drain and then to dispose of the flows by connecting to house drains or a soakaway in another part of the garden. The Transport and Highways Service may be able to offer advice.