Drains are pipes, which carry waste and surface water from one or more houses.
How do I know if my drain is blocked?
When one drain meets another, it becomes a sewer. These are not the gullies or grids that can be found in the road to take water off the highway. If your drain is blocked your waste will stop going away when you flush the toilet, or gullies outside will overflow. There will also probably be an unpleasant smell.
The owner of the property is responsible for internal plumbing and the section of pipe that serves only their property and lies within the boundary of their property. Responsibility for the clearance of blockages and repairs to drains outside of your property boundary and to most shared drains is the responsibility of Thames Water.
Blocked gullies are the responsibility of Herts County Council and you can report a flooding or drainage fault on their website.
Report a blocked drain
For council properties, contact the Customer Service Centre on 01438 242242. Outside of office hours in an emergency, contact 01438 314963.
A burst pipe in the road should be reported to Affinity Water.
If it is a private owned property and the blockage is on the drain serving your property only, then you are responsible for getting it cleared.
For blocked gullies in the road, contact Hertfordshire County Council on 0300 1234047.
In all other cases you should initially contact Thames Water on 0800 316 9800; they will be able to advise you whether the issue is their responsibility. In some cases, they may refer you back to the council if their records show that the problem is with a privately owned drain.
The council has powers to serve legal notices on responsible parties requiring them to repair or clear damaged or blocked drains. The council may undertake the work to clear blockages after 48 hours if the person served with the notice does not do so.
Environmental Health and Licensing
01438 242908 / 242916