Water and wastewater services for Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
 
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External flooding

Flooding from sewers is distressing and we are working hard to reduce the risk of it happening. However, it is not always possible to prevent it. This leaflet tells you what to do if you have sewer flooding outside your property.

Who to contact

It is important to contact your insurer immediately to tell them about any damage the flooding has caused to the exterior of your property.

If you don’t, it may affect any insurance claims you need to make.

Call our 24-hour emergency number 0330 303 0368. Let us know if any nearby properties have been affected so we can help them too.

What we will do

Where possible, we will attend your property within six hours of you reporting the incident. In the event of widespread storms and flooding, it may take us longer to reach you.

We will call you to let you know we’re on our way so please make sure you give us the best number to contact you. When we see you, we will give you help and advice about what to do next. We will also ask questions about the flooding to help us understand the cause

We will check our sewers and carry out work to address the cause as appropriate. We will carry out a litter pick of solids and debris, wash down and disinfect all hardstanding areas. If the ground is waterlogged, we may need to leave the clean-up for a day or two to avoid spreading the contamination.

What you can do

If safe to do so, please take photos of the flooded area as the levels may have subsided by the time we get there.

Pictures will help us work out why it has happened and may allow us to consider whether you’re entitled to a payment under our Guaranteed Standards Service. Affected fruit and vegetables growing in your garden should be disposed of. Keep children and pets away from the flooded areas.

How can you stop this happening again?

Sewers sometimes flood during or after heavy rain if they are unable to cope with the amount of water. However, more commonly it is how we use our sewers and what we put down them that causes problems.

Many incidences of flooding could be avoided by not flushing items such as:

  • Wipes
  • Nappies
  • Sanitary towels
  • Cotton buds
  • Tampons and applicators
  • Condoms
  • Kitchen roll


Fat, oil and grease also cause blockages if poured down plugholes as it hardens when it cools.

Guaranteed standards of service payment

If you have external flooding that is caused by a failure of our drainage system, you may claim an amount equivalent to half your annual sewerage charges, from a minimum of £75 to a maximum £500.

You must complete an application form within three months of the incident. These can be downloaded from our website southernwater.co.uk or you can call 0330 303 0368.

These Guaranteed Standards Service payments are not compensation or an admission of liability. We are not able to make payments in the following circumstances:

  • The flooding was caused by you
  • The flooding was caused by exceptional rainfall events
  • If our investigation confirms the flooding was a result of a third party issue, for example surface water running over land, river inundation, private drainage or highway drainage.
     
 
 
 
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