My garden is flooded with sewer water

My garden is flooded with sewer water

Sewer water is unpleasant and can contain toilet paper and human waste, or nasty sludge, or silt. Sometimes, though, it can be clear water. Whichever it is, you’ll, no doubt, be distressed. So, let’s get straight on with helping you to report it.


What to do
  • It's important to contact your insurer immediately to tell them about any damage the flooding has caused inside 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.
  • Keep children and pets away from the flooded areas.
  • Throw away any affected fruit and vegetables growing in your garden.
  • If it's safe to do so, 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 flooding has happened, and may help determine whether you’re entitled to a payment under our Guaranteed Standards of Service.


What we will do
  • When possible, we’ll attend your property within six hours of you reporting the incident (in storms and flooding we may take longer to reach you).
  • We’ll call to let you know we’re on our way – so please make sure you provide us with your mobile number.
  • When we see you, we’ll give you help and advice on what to do next.
  • We’ll also ask questions about the flooding to help us understand the cause.

If the flooding is caused by a problem on our sewage network, we will do the following:

  • carry out an initial external clean-up where possible within 24 hours. This includes removing excess liquid, cleaning debris, applying household disinfectant – this will remove all traces of bacteria within 24 to 48 hours
  • clear gardens of water and debris (bacteria are best killed by natural exposure to the sunlight’s ultra violet radiation)
  • clean and disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and drives.


Insurance claims

We will help with clean-up operations after flooding, unless insurance companies have agreed to make arrangements. Claims for loss or damage must be directed to your own insurers who will provide advice on what action to take to ensure the terms and conditions of your policy are met. Please note the following:

  • We have no strict liability for sewage flooding events that are beyond our control.


Help to stop this happening again

Sewers sometimes flood during, or after, heavy rain if they can't cope with the amount of water.

You can help avoid flooding by not flushing the following items:

  • wet wipes (even those that say ‘flushable’ cause blocks so please don’t flush any)
  • nappies
  • sanitary towels
  • cotton buds
  • tampons and applicators
  • condoms
  • kitchen roll
  • fat, oil and grease (poured down plugholes go hard when they’ve cooled down and create blocks in your pipes).

More information on keeping your pipes clear.


If you're worried about your land being contaminated

As most contaminants will be on or near the surface, they’ll be exposed to the sun’s ultra-violet rays which are very effective at killing bacteria. Independent laboratory tests show bacteria should soon reduce to normal levels, in the following conditions:

  • during warm, dry summer weather – after nine days
  • during damper, cooler spring/autumn conditions – after 20 days
  • during cold, wet weather – after 25 days

 Why might you need to investigate further?

Guaranteed standards of service payment

If you've experienced external flooding 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 of £500.

To claim, you’ll need to apply within three months of the incident. You’ll need to download the External Flooding claim form or fill in the Get in touch form

These payments are not compensation or an admission of liability.

What will happen with your automatic payment:

  1. We’ll write to you within 20 working days of the incident. The letter will include the following information:
    • more about the payment
    • what steps we have to take as a direct result of the incident
    • any investigations we need to carry out.
  2. We’ll send you a cheque or credit your account within 20 working days of the flooding incident. 
  3. If we’re late with the payment, you’ll get an extra £20 as a credit to your account.

We can’t make these payments if any of the following apply:

  • the flooding was caused by your actions
  • the flooding was caused by exceptional rainfall
  • our investigation confirms that the flooding was caused by a third party issue, such as surface water running off land, a flooded river, a problem with a private or highway drain.

Conditions may apply. Follow the link for a list of all exceptions and further information:

 Guaranteed Standards of Services

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