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A very important feature of road construction is drainage. New roads include designed drainage systems intended to remove water efficiently from the surface of the highway to provide a safe passage for all vehicles and pedestrians.
Older roads may have less sophisticated drainage, but all have the features designed to take water away from the road surface. It is necessary to clean and maintain the drainage infrastructure so that it can work properly.
Problems can occur even when the drainage infrastructure is clean and well maintained. Flooded and waterlogged roads result when the amount of water arriving on the road is greater than the capacity of the drainage facilities that take it away. Exceptional rainfall, a road being in a low lying area, changes in 'run off' from adjacent fields and rivers overflowing are some situations that can lead to the road being flooded, even when drains are in good working order. Material carried into the drains by floods can also lead to them becoming blocked. Drainage grills and gratings (on gullies) can become blocked very quickly when materials like mud are deposited on the road or when there is a heavy fall of leaves. If a flooded road is caused by a ruptured water main then United Utilities are responsible for repairing the damage.
Water is directed to drains by the road profile. Puddles (ponding) tend to occur if there is a depression (hollow) in the road. This can be rectified where necessary by local patching of the road surface.
Frequently asked questions
Who looks after the public sewers? United Utilities own and manage the network of public sewers.
Who looks after private sewers or drains? For information on private sewers and drains visit our public health enforcement web page. Please use the link in the right-hand navigation.
Who do I contact if the flooding is from the public highway? For flooding from the public highway or to report blocked road gullies or gratings, contact our Customer Contact Team.
Who do I contact if the flooding is from a burst water main? United Utilities are responsible for their apparatus.
Who do I contact if flooding occurs from a water service pipe or internal pipework? For information on private sewers and drains visit our public health enforcement web page. Please use the link in the right-hand navigation.
Who do I contact if flooding occurs from a main river? The main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency. In addition, the Agency provide a "Floodline", which is a 24 hour advice and information service for floods and flood warning on 0845 988 1188.
Who do I contact if flooding occurs from a watercourse other than main rivers? Watercourses, other than main rivers, are the responsibility of the riparian owners. You are a riparian owner if the watercourse flows through or under your property or land. If the watercourse is situated adjacent to or bounds your property or land then responsibility could lie with yourself or jointly with other landowners who border the watercourse. Riparian owners have a duty to keep the watercourse clear of any obstruction to flow and the council can serve legal notices on riparian owners to deal with obstructions.
Who do I contact for provision of sandbags to protect against flooding? The council makes sandbags available to residents during emergency situations, to enable them to protect their homes from flooding. However, residents who are aware that their homes are at high risk of flooding, for example, as a result of the close proximity of a watercourse, or previous flooding are recommended to obtain sandbags from a builders' merchant to enable early preparation, as at times of flooding the Council's contractor may not be able to reach all properties before flooding occurs.