The property owners are responsible for drains up to the point where pipework meets public sewers.
Signs of drain blockages include:
Difficulties when flushing the loo.
Water draining away slowly from sinks.
Unpleasant smells and water collecting on surfaces such as a patio from overflowing drains, gulleys and manholes.
In serious cases of leaking drains, you might see evidence of subsidence including cracks in brickwork, windowsills, driveways, or sunken steps.
What’s Causing The Problem?
A straightforward blockage is likely but underlying causes could be general deterioration of pipes and joints due to age.
In Victorian houses, the salt-glazed clayware drains are over 100 years old and cracks or porous joints can occur, while cast iron pipes can corrode.
In 1960s properties, pitch fibre pipes were used, and these can gradually deteriorate, deflating from their original circular shape, blistering or collapsing.
Then there are badly built drains with poorly designed manholes or a poor fall from the pipes.
Broken, collapsed, deformed or cracked pipes can be due to movement in the ground, or pipes can fracture due to a heavy vehicle driving over the ground above.
And tree roots can grow into the drains through pipe joints, cracked pipes or manhole walls.