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Making sense of the different types of drains and sewers

The difference between sewers, drains and lateral drains is not something you usually come across at school, so you can quite easily be forgiven for not knowing which name refers to what.

When it comes to your property and its connecting drainage system, it is worth finding out what these terms actually mean and how they relate to you. Otherwise you may get them confused and speak about one when you really mean another.

Many people did not realise, but the ownership of drains and the responsibility for looking after certain types changed towards the end of last year and so it is important to understand how this applies to you and your home.

The following are explanations for some of the most common types:

  • The drain – this is a waste pipe serving just the one residence
  • Lateral drains – these relate to the drainage pipes sitting just outside of the boundary of your property
  • The sewer – finally, these are wastewater pipes serving a number of properties. With these systems, they can be privately as well as publicly owned.

To clarify, the homeowner is responsible for all private drains which are within the boundary of the property. So, if you ever have any issue with your drains, be sure to speak to the specialists.