Innovations to prevent floods in future

We’re committed to reducing sewer flooding in your community and are looking into the best ways of doing so.

Over the next two years, we’re working in 10 towns and cities, part of our major investment to make improvements to reduce cases of sewer flooding inside properties, and prevent them happening in future.

This is a pilot project. The results will be carefully looked at and could change the way we tackle sewer flooding across the whole region.

We started in Brighton and Margate earlier this year. The first stage will be to survey the sewers with cameras.


Why is this different to your usual flood prevention work?

Currently, our sewer flooding prevention looks at individual properties or relatively small “hot spots”.

We want to take a more holistic approach by looking at issues across a far wider area and working more proactively. 

To do this, we’re creating bespoke action plans for each area, taking into account findings from previous investigations and studies.

The plans are tailored for each area - in Margate, for instance, about half of all property flooding incidents are caused by redundant drain interceptors (or Buchan Traps), installed many years ago to stop rodents from getting into properties via the sewers. Over time these have become prone to blocking and causing the sewers to back-up and flood properties. We’ll be looking at these interceptors, inspecting and cleaning them, and removing them completely if necessary.

We’re also trialling new, innovative techniques such as: 

  • Tablets that break down fat in sewers, potentially preventing the need for sewer jetting 
  • New software, monitoring equipment and rainwater storage facilities.

This is approach is a new way of working for us and, if successful, could change the way we work to prevent sewer flooding in future.



We understand how devastating sewer flooding can be, especially when it happens inside your property.

This is why we’ve promised to take action.

We’ve introduced a range of new working practices, including better monitoring, more detailed planning and closer working with customers, to help us respond to this challenge.

We’re pleased with the steady reduction in the number of internal flooding incidents over the past year but this project takes things one step further.

Of course, there will always be factors beyond our control that put pressure on our sewers or geographical features which make some areas more prone to flooding. But this investment will mean we can plan better and put more preventative measures in place.

Our action plans include:

  • Targeted CCTV surveys and sewer jetting 
  • New sewer monitoring techniques
  • High level network modelling to provide early warning of potential issues
  • Improved operational response
  • Customer awareness campaigns
  • Surveying of unmapped former private sewers.


Where are you working?

We’ll be focussing on communities within these 10 town and cities:

  • Brighton
  • Eastbourne
  • Maidstone
  • Margate 
  • Herne Bay
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheerness
  • Ryde
  • Southampton 
  • Worthing 


Why these areas?

We’ve carried out detailed studies to find the most suitable locations for this pilot scheme. 

The towns and cities we’ll be working in have all been significantly impacted by sewer flooding and are most likely to benefit from our investment. 

Our aim is to find new ways of working that will benefit our whole region. 


Will this work impact customers?

We may need to work on your property to get to specific parts of the sewer network but will always ask permission in advance.

Other work may also involve:

  • Working in public highways 
  • Traffic management 
  • Overnight work 

We’ll have customer liaison teams on hand and will let you know if you’re going to be impacted. 


How can customers do their bit?

Blockages can be caused by a build-up of fat, oil and grease (FOG), wet-wipes, sanitary products, nappies and other ‘unflushables’. 

These blockages can lead to sewer flooding but are entirely preventable.

Our Unflushables campaign gives customers advice on what not to flush or pour down sinks to keep sewers clear.

Close agent lightbox  Close box