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Flooding – who’s responsible

Flooding is a complex issue and one in which several organisations are involved.

 

As a wastewater company, we're not responsible for investigating groundwater, river flooding or surface water problems. This is the role of other agencies.

It’s our responsibility to ensure our customers can continue to use their wastewater services.

Our priority is to keep our sewers flowing and manage the flows they are built to carry, such as waste from toilets, sinks, showers and washing machines, as well as rainwater from roofs and driveways.

Flood water

Our sewers aren’t designed to carry millions of litres of floodwater and neither should they be. We work alongside local councils, the Environment Agency (EA) and others to help alleviate the effects of flooding on the community.

See the below diagram which shows the different roles and responsibilities for various types of flooding.

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Click image to enlarge

We’re also committed to working with all of the relevant organisations to help address the issue of flooding.

Click on the links below for further information on which organisation to contact in different types of flooding.

  1. Highway flooding 
    • Local councils are responsible for road gullies. You should contact the council if gullies are blocked and water cannot enter them.
  2. River flooding and groundwater levels 
    • The Environment Agency has a 24-hour Floodline on 0845 9881 188. If your property is flooded by river water, you should contact your home insurance company.
  3. Sewer flooding 
    • You should call our 24-hour customer service team on 0330 303 0368 (calls charged at local rate).

Who's responsible for recovery?

After flooding, some recovery activities are the responsibility of water companies and some the responsibility of other agencies.

The list below shows who handles different aspects of flood recovery:

  1. Cleaning up public areas 
      • Replacing missing or dislodged manholes
        Water companies
      • Washing silt and sewer debris from streets
        Highways Authority
      • Cleaning highway debris, gullies and drainage ditches
        Highways Authority
      • Washing and removing silt and sewer debris from open spaces
        Local authority
      • Removing silt and sewer debris from public sewers and pumping stations
        Water companies
      • Removing litter from watercourses
        Environment Agency
      • Pumping flood water from public areas
        Environment Agency
      • Disposing of flood-damaged property
        Local authority
      • Removing sandbags
        Local authority
      • Controlling access to water hydrant use
        Water companies
  2. Cleaning up properties 
    • If your property has been flooded by water from our sewers we'll clean up as soon as possible. It's also important to contact your insurers, who may agree to make alternative clean-up arrangements.

      For all other flooding use the list below:
       
      • Internal cleaning of insured properties
        Insurance companies
      • Internal cleaning of non-insured properties
        Private owners
      • External cleaning (e.g. gardens and drives) of insured properties
        Insurance companies
      • External cleaning (e.g. gardens and drives) of non-insured properties
        Private owners
      • Providing dehumidifiers or driers to insured properties
        Insurance companies 
      • Providing dehumidifiers or driers to non-insured properties
        Private owners
      • Restoring septic tanks
        Private owners
      • Pumping out flooded properties
        Insurance companies and private owners
      • Restoring allotments and food crops
        Insurance companies and private owners
  3. Restoring utilities 
      • Restoring internal electricity to insured properties
        Insurance companies and private owners
      • Restoring internal electricity to non-insured properties
        Private owners
      • Restoring telecoms
        Telecoms companies
      • Restoring gas supply
        Gas companies
      • Restoring electricity to property meter or fuse box
        Electricity companies
      • Restoring free-flowing public sewers
        Water companies
      • Restoring free-flowing private drainage
        Private owners
      • Restoring public wastewater pumping stations
        Water companies
      • Restoring private wastewater pumping stations
        Private owners
      • Assessing the impact of flooding on roads, footpaths and rail
        Water companies, Environment Agency, Highway Authority, local authority, electricity companies, gas companies, telecoms companies
  4. Handling groundwater flooding 
      • Preventing groundwater flooding
        Local authority
      • Approving the pumping of groundwater into watercourses
        Environment Agency
  5. Communications 
      • Chairing strategic recovery group and local meetings
        Local authority
      • Sourcing suitable location and welfare for recovery teams
        Local authority
      • Local co-ordination of agencies
        Local authority
      • Giving insurance advice
        Insurance companies
      • Providing health leaflets
        Local authority
      • Providing sewer flooding advice leaflets
        Water companies
  6. Welfare during recovery 
      • Providing and maintaining toilet facilities
        Local authority
      • Providing accommodation for displaced residents during clean-up
        Insurance companies, local authority, private owners
      • Security for property
        Police
 
 
 
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