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Drains and sewers

A drain is the pipe that removes sewage and rainwater from a property, and a sewer is the shared pipe that drains connect to.

Drains legally belong to the owner or occupier of the property they are connected to, even if they go under someone else's land or a road. The owner or occupier is responsible for maintaining or unblocking them if there are problems.

Sewers serving properties built before October 1937 ('public sewers') are owned by the local water company, which in Cambridge is Anglian Water.

Sewers serving properties built after October 1937 ('private sewers') belong jointly to all the people who own the properties that connect to it, although the responsibility for dealing with most of them transferred to Anglian Water in 2011.

If you can't find out who is responsible for a problem on or near your property, our Environmental Health team may be able to provide advice.

Blocked drains and sewers

If only your property is affected, you will probably need to contact a drain-clearing specialist. They will usually try to clear the blockage by using either a high-pressure water jet or drainage rods. You may wish to check with your building insurance company before you hire a contractor.

If several properties are affected, contact Anglian Water.

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