Drains and Water

Drains and Water

A drain is a pipe which carries waste water and sewage from just one property.

A sewer is a pipe which carries sewage and waste water from more than one property.

When two drains meet, the pipe becomes a sewer (even if the drains are from the same property).

Broken Drains/Sewers


You are responsible for drains running from your property and if they are not working.

Southern Water is responsible for all sewers.

To report a faulty or blocked sewer visit the Southern Water website.

Fixing Drains/Sewers


If there is a fault in a drain and the fault is not repaired, we can insist that you clear the blockage or make the repair to prevent health problems.

We may serve a legal notice and carry out work if you do not carry out work set out in the notice. We can then charge you for the cost of the work and any administration charges.

Cesspits and Septic Tanks


Septic tanks are part of a sewage treatment system and have an outlet that runs to a soak away, typically they require emptying every 12 months.

A cesspit (or cesspool) is a holding tank without an outlet. It is not part of a sewage treatment system, it is just used for storage of waste. Cesspits need emptying regularly, typically every 45 days, depending on the capacity and the level of use.

The owner of the system is responsible for the maintenance and it is an offence to allow either sewage system to overflow.

If you see an overflowing cesspit or septic tank call 01622 602202 to report it.

Private Water Supplies


A private water supply:

  • is not provided by a water company like South East Water
  • includes wells, springs, streams, boreholes, surface water features, and ponds
  • may serve more than one property

Responsibility for costs

We are responsible for the registration, risk assessment, sampling and enforcement of private water supplies and private distribution systems. We make sure they are suitable for use and meet standards set by the Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 and Private Water Supplies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.

We cover costs for work carried out by private water supplies. This includes any work needed to assess or take samples.

Example of costs

The following examples are based on a rate of £79 per hour:

  • on average a risk assessment takes 6 hours: £79 × 6 = £474
  • on average a sample visit takes 3 hours: £79 × 3 = £237

Costs for the analysis of samples will be additional to hourly rates. These costs are dependent on the number of samples taken and the analysis required.

Private distribution system

Mains water is supplied to a site or property and distributed to other buildings not owned by that organisation or person. Residents should pay the landlord directly instead of the water company.

If you think your home or business is served by a private water supply or a private distribution system, you can contact us:

Mains Water Supplies

Most properties in Maidstone get their water from South East Water.  If you are concerned about your supply, please contact your water provider or Ofwat.

Information and advice

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) offers further information. You can also contact ehadmin@midkent.gov.uk.

In your email, you should include:

  • your address
  • your contact details
  • the address of the property the water supply serves