A picture of the Kent County Council logo.
Blocked drains and sewers can pose a significant risk to the health and safety of your community. In order to ensure the wellbeing of both residents and the environment, it is crucial that these issues are reported to the local council as soon as possible.
In this guide, we will discuss what constitutes a blockage, who is responsible for addressing them, and how to go about reporting any problems you may come across.
With this information, you can help protect your community from the potential hazards caused by overflows, leaks, and other blockage-related issues.

1. What is a Blockage?

A drain blockage is typically caused by an obstruction in either drain or sewer pipes, which in turn prevents the normal flow of water and waste material. Some common causes of blockages include:
  • Foreign objects being flushed down toilets or washed down sinks
  • Tree roots growing into pipes
  • The buildup of fat, oil, and grease in sewer lines
  • Collapsed or damaged pipes

These problems can lead to a range of issues, such as slow-draining water, foul smells, and even the ejection of sewage onto public or private property.

2. How can blockages affect you?

Blockages can occur in various locations and take many forms, from debris and foreign objects lodged in pipes to the buildup of fat, oil, and grease in sewer lines.
When they occur, blockages have the potential to cause significant damage to both public and private property, as well as pose serious risks to public health and the environment. In some cases, blockages can lead to overflowing sewage, flooding, and even the contamination of drinking water supplies.
It is everyone’s responsibility to contribute to the maintenance of a clean and healthy community.
By learning how to spot and report blockages, you can play your part in ensuring that your local council can address these issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, safeguarding the wellbeing of your neighbours and the environment alike.

3. Who is Responsible for Blockages?

Homeowners and businesses are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the drains and sewers that serve their properties.
This includes ensuring that any blockages are promptly dealt with by a professional plumber or drainage contractor. However, in some cases, the local council or water utility company may be responsible for dealing with blockages in public sewers.
It is important to note that waste disposal companies are also responsible for the management of the waste they collect. This includes ensuring that blockages do not occur as a result of their disposal methods.

4. Why Should You Report Blockage Issues?

Protect Public Health
Blockages can lead to serious health risks for residents in your community. Overflows and leaks can result in the spread of harmful bacteria, and in some cases, can even contaminate drinking water supplies.
Prevent Property Damage
The consequences of blockages can be far-reaching, including damage to both public and private property. By reporting blockages promptly, you can help to minimize the risk of costly repairs and insurance claims in your area.
Protect the Environment
The effects of blockages are not only limited to human health and property; they can also have a devastating impact on the environment. Leaks and overflows can contaminate local waterways, harming plant and animal life and contributing to pollution.

5. How to Spot a Blockage

Some common signs of a blockage include:
  • Slow-draining sinks, bathtubs, or showers
  • Gurgling noises coming from drains
  • Foul smells emanating from drains or manholes
  • Sewage or wastewater overflowing onto the ground or into watercourses

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to act quickly to report the issue to your local council.

6. Step-by-Step Guide to Reporting Blockages

Identify the location of the blockage – this may be on your property, on a neighbour’s property, or somewhere within your local community.
If the blockage is on your own property, contact a plumber or drainage contractor to investigate and resolve the issue. If the blockage is in a public area, proceed to the next step.
Gather relevant information, such as the precise location of the blockage, the date and time you first noticed the issue, and any photos or videos that may help illustrate the problem.
Contact your local council or water utility company to report the issue. This can typically be done through an online form, by phone, or in person at a local office.
Keep a record of your report, including the date it was submitted and any reference numbers provided. This will help you to follow up on the issue if necessary.
1Identify the location of the blockageYou
2Contact the plumber or drainage contractor (if on your property)You
3Gather relevant informationYou
4Report the issue to local council or water utility companyYou
5Keep a record of your reportYou

7. Importance of Acting Quickly

Addressing blockages quickly is essential for protecting public health, preventing property damage, and preserving the environment.
By reporting issues promptly, you can help to ensure that the local council or water utility company is able to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.


8. Tips for Preventing Blockages

Here are some simple steps that you can take to help prevent blockages from occurring in the first place:
  • Dispose of grease, fats, and oils in the trash rather than pouring them down the sink
  • Be mindful of what you flush down the toilet – do not flush items such as wipes, diapers, or sanitary products
  • Keep an eye on tree roots around your property that could potentially invade pipes
  • Regularly clean and maintain gutters and downpipes to prevent debris buildup.

By being proactive and careful about how we dispose of waste and maintain our properties, we can play a significant role in preventing blockages and maintaining the health of our communities.


9. Importance of Acting Quickly

The importance of reporting blockages to the local council cannot be overstated. By keeping an eye out for signs of blockages and taking the necessary steps to report them, you can help protect your community from the dangers posed by overflows, leaks, and other blockage-related issues.
Remember that acting quickly is essential, and by following the tips mentioned above, you can help to prevent blockages in the first place. Together, we can work to maintain a clean, healthy, and safe environment for everyone.

10. Resources

Your Local Council’s Website – for information on how to report blockages and other local services.
Local Council Website for London & Hertfordshire:

Water Authority’s Website – for information on reporting issues and maintaining your property’s water supply.
Water Authority Websites for London & Hertfordshire:


Discovered a Drain Blockage? Call Us!

If you’ve noticed a blockage in your sink, toilet, or drains, give our friendly engineers a call and we’ll remove the blockage for you. We provide fast, effective, and fixed-price drain unblocking services.