A drain is the pipe that removes sewage and rainwater from a property. A sewer is the shared pipe that drains connect to.
Drains belong to the owner or occupier of the property they connect to. This is the case even if they go under someone else’s land or a road. The owner or occupier must maintain or unblock them if there are problems.
Sewers serving properties built before October 1937 are known as public sewers. Those serving newer buildings are known as private sewers.
The local water company owns public sewers – in Cambridge that's Anglian Water.
Private sewers belong to the owners of all the properties that connect to them. Responsibility for dealing with most of them transferred to Anglian Water in 2011.
If you can’t find out who should handle a problem, we might be able to help.
Blocked drains and sewers
If a blocked drain or sewer is affecting several properties, contact Anglian Water.
If only your property is affected, contact a drain-clearing specialist. They will usually try to clear the blockage with a high-pressure water jet or drainage rods.
You might want to talk to your building insurance company before you hire a contractor.