Skip to content


The relevant water provider in your area will be responsible for the majority of sewers (even on private land) and for all lateral drains. The property owner will generally only be responsible for a drain on their land up to the property boundary or to its junction with a public sewer.

In summary, there are three types of drainage system. These are called drains, lateral drains and public sewers and can be defined as follows:-

Drain – a wastewater pipe that serves just one property up to the property boundary or to where it becomes a public sewer.

Lateral drain – the part of the drain that is outside the property boundary.

Sewer – a wastewater pipe that serves more than one property. Sewers can either be:-
a) Public - owned and maintained by the water provider or
b) Private - owned and maintained by groups of individuals or organisations.

There will occasionally be instances where neither the Water Provider or Stroud District Council will be responsible for maintenance of a drainage pipe. i.e where pipes are connected to a private treatment system such as a septic tank, soakaway or private treatment works. This also applies to other systems which do not connect to the public sewer, such as surface water pipes which discharge directly to a watercourse.

Drainage systems that are within the boundaries of a single, centrally managed site, for example, a shopping centre, block of flats, hospital, caravan park or industrial estate, will also not be publicly maintainable.

Ordinary Watercourse Land Drainage Consent

Under the Land Drainage Act 1991, you will need consent to build a culvert or structure (such as a weir) which is likely to affect flow in an ordinary watercourse.

It is our responsibility to issue consent for ordinary watercourses under amendments to the Land Drainage Act 1991. For further information around Ordinary Water Course Consent, please visit the Gloucestershire County Council website.

Last reviewed: