Drainage and sewage

Rother District Council dealt with over 200 calls last year to do with drainage problems.

Many of the problems occur in the rural areas were septic tanks and cess pits are in use. Most of the problems come from septic tanks that are poorly maintained.

Tanks should be emptied annually and bleach must not be used to clean toilets as it kills the bacteria that are important for the ecological balance of the tanks. There are eco friendly products on the market, which are suitable for use in septic tanks, that will not kill the bacteria. If a septic tank smells it is not functioning properly!

Rother District Council also investigates blocked or broken drains. The owners of drains have to be determined and statutory notices served, where appropriate, to ensure the drain is repaired correctly.

In the 1960/70s a great deal of pitch fibre drainage pipes were used. At that time it was hailed as the way forward for drains/sewers, however it has proved to be the opposite. Over the years, many of the pipes have delaminated, broken and collapsed due to age. They are now having to be renewed, involving replacing complete drainage systems to large areas of housing.

The department works closely with Southern Water, the Environment Agency and ESCC Highways when drainage problems arise.

The law on drainage can be complex but can be oversimplified to the following rules:

A pipe serving one property is a drain and the householder is responsible for keeping this clear and paying for any repairs.

A drain becomes a sewer when it serves more than one property. Southern Water Ltd owns all the public sewers. The pipe in the road is likely to be a public sewer.  Drainage enquires are dealt with by Rother District Environmental Health Service on 01424 787000.

For problems with public sewers please telephone Southern Water on 0845 278 0845

For Highway Drain blockages please refer them to East Sussex County Council on 0345 6080 193 or email highways@eastsussex.gov.uk

  • Private Water Supplies

    If the water used by your household is not supplied by one of the region's Water Companies (South East Water or Southern Water), you are using a private water supply.

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