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Advice on Sewage Leaks

| Michael Quinn

A homeowner may not always be responsible for maintaining sewers around their property. Still, when you are in charge of them, it is important to get sewage leaks in gardens and homes repaired quickly to avoid further damage to your property and potential fines from the Environment Agency. If you’re unsure whether the sewage leak is your responsibility or someone else’s, please refer to our article on blocked drains responsibilities.

Problems referring to sewage leaks may include any of the following:

  • If sewage is coming out of your drains or your manhole, you likely have a blocked drain. In this scenario, the blockage must first be cleared, and then a camera survey would be recommended to assess what caused the blockage and if further treatment is required.
  • Alternatively, if the sewage leak you’re concerned about is to surface water or a ditch, and you’re not sure who is discharging the water, you would need to contact the Environmental Agency.
  • If sewage is leaking out of your pipes, they may be damaged or have displaced joints, leading to voiding and subsidence issues. In this case, a camera survey would be required to assess the extent of the damage and provide a solution.

If sewage has been leaking, jet washing and the use of antibacterial agents will be required to disinfect the affected area (washing it into a foul maintenance hole).

Alternatively, contact us today if you need your private sewer drain mended and we will send an engineer to fix it, re-line it or even replace the pipe entirely if required.

Ways in which sewage leaks from your drain

Damaged pipes

Common reason sewage may be leaking from your drain is because your drain has become damaged over time. This could be due to tree root ingress, joints becoming displaced, poorly installed pipework and wear and tear. When you have found a problem such as a sewage leak, dealing with it becomes paramount to stop the problem from continuing or getting worse.

Depending on if the problem pipe crosses your property boundary or not, the issue may not be your responsibility to fix. If the leaking pipe is outside of your property, it will be the responsibility of a local water company, such as Thames Water, to get it repaired.

If the sewage leak is in your house or garden, and the drain is on your property and not shared with your neighbours, it is likely to be your responsibility, and you will need to get it fixed.

Manhole seals to prevent sewage water leaks

If your manholes are sealed, it will prevent sewage coming out and surface water coming in, so when surface water floods, it won’t disturb your drains. This is why it’s important to have a good seal on your system’s manhole cover.

Most commonly, there are three types of cover you will find on manholes:

  • No seal
  • Single seal
  • Double seal

No seal

This is when there is no seal on the manhole cover; it will instead slot into place. It is also often regarded as the most cost-effective type.

Single seal

These manhole covers have a single seal applied to the cover and frame, often made out of sealant or neoprene strips. These are often enough to leave the manhole both airtight and watertight, preventing sewage water leaks from breaking to the surface. However, it must also be noted that the seal requires care, as it may break and allow rainwater into the system.

Double seal

This type of manhole cover is a doubling of the seals mentioned above but forms a comprehensive watertight and airtight seal. This type will most often be found in (and therefore stop sewage leaks in) houses, as they are best suited to internal sewage manholes. 

Surface water and sewage leaks in your garden

When rain or water which has run down from your gutters cannot drain away, it may accidentally enter your foul water drains or even a private system. This may prevent septic tanks or sewage treatment plants from working correctly, as surges of water disrupt the separation process and can allow for solid waste to travel directly through the chambers to your soakaways. This blocks them up and can prevent them from working.

Surface water should drain to surface water soakaway or surface water sewer, so it’s important you have the right provisions in place for surface water drainage to prevent it from causing problems.

Leaking sewage and health hazards

Leaking sewage is a health hazard, so it is of vital importance that you allow a professional drainage service to repair sewage leaks in your garden or home as soon as you find them. Sewage water leaks that are left will become breeding grounds for bacteria, and leftover food or hygiene products still present in the wastewater will mix in the sewage and encourage microorganisms' spread.

Harmful gases are also often associated with leaking sewage and are associated with health risks.

If there is a raw sewage leak on your property and you know it is your responsibility, please contact us today to get it repaired. Sewer flooding can be dangerous if left, so it must be taken care of as soon as possible.

Report a sewage leak on private property today

If you suspect that you have a sewage leak somewhere on or around your property and you know that you are responsible for its maintenance, get in touch with ASL Limited today.

We can send our team of dedicated drainage engineers out to your location as and when you need them, and they will carry out a fast, efficient repair of all leaks in your pipes. If it turns out that the problem is not your responsibility, our staff can also explain how to report a sewage leak to your local water company.

If you need assistance with a sewage leak, give us a call on 0800 181 684.


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