Error message

There was a problem acquiring the API key, please contact the site administrator.

Drains, Sewers, Septic Tanks

It is advisable to contact Anglian Water in the first instance for a blocked sewer and they will inform you if it is private or public.

Public means that Anglian Water are responsible for clearing it. If it is a private sewer, it would be your responsibility to pay for clearance, along with any other your neighbours that the sewer serves.

However sewer ownership is changing from 1st October 2011. From this date Wastewater Companies (Anglian Water in this region) will be looking after many more of the sewers and pipes that take your waste water from your houses to the main sewer system. This means that in a large number of cases if there is a blockage in a sewer that serves more than just your property the responsibility for clearance will not be shared between yourself and your neighbours but will pass to the Wastewater Companies from 1st October 2011.

Visual examples of the change in responsibility can be found at 

and other useful information may be found at

Please contact the Domestic Team in Environmental Services for further advice or assistance in this matter.

Maintaining a Septic Tank

As East Cambs is a relatively rural district, many properties do not have access to the main sewer and therefore have to use other systems such as septic tanks or cesspools. If you have one of these systems it is wise to understand how they work and what maintenance is required.

East Cambridgeshire District Council has a leaflet, designed to provide information to members of the public who have these systems, which can be found using the link at the bottom of this page. The following links to the Environment Agency's Pollution Prevention Guidance note 4 entitled 'disposal of sewage where no mains drainage is available' and Yellow Pages, which may also be of interest.

Contractors to empty your septic tank or cesspit can be found in the Yellow Pages under 'sewage consultants' or 'waste disposal'.

If you have a package treatment plant maintenance is much more specialised and ideally you should have a maintenance contract with the company who supplied it. This type of system treats the sewage to a much higher standard and if working correctly it can be discharged into a watercourse, however a consent is required which must be obtained from the Environment Agency who can be contacted on 08708 506506.

If you have any further queries on these types of systems please contact the domestic team of Environmental services:

Write to:

Environmental Services
East Cambridgeshire District Council
The Grange
Nutholt Lane
Ely, Cambs
CB7 4PL
Telephone: 01353 665555
Email: customerservices@eastcambs.gov.uk

Related Publications