Cookies information

We use cookies to make the site simpler. Find out more about the cookies we use.

Private drainage

Show all parts of this guide

1. Problems with private drainage

There are a number of private drainage systems that may serve your property if you do not pay a sewage charge to South West Water. If any of these systems are defective (blocked or restricted flow) or are causing pollution to neighbours we can investigate.


Drains are underground pipes that serve a single dwelling. They are the sole responsibility of the property that benefits from the pipe.


A cesspool, also known as a cesspit, is a large sealed tank which stores sewage from your property. Cesspools need to be emptied very frequently.

Septic tanks

A septic tank is an underground tank where the solids sink to the bottom and liquid flows out and soaks through the ground. They need to be inspected and emptied regularly.

Private sewerage treatment works

Some properties have their own small sewage treatment plants. This is a part mechanical system that treats the liquid so it is clean enough to go into a river or stream. They need to be maintained and emptied.


Start the journey


More info about the journey