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Drains and Gullies 


We are responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of road gullies (drains). 

Other drainage problems should be reported to Thames Water

Gullies are cleaned on a regular cycle at least once per year.

If you wish to report a blocked gully or have dropped something (for example keys) accidentally into the gully, please contact us.

Frequently asked questions

  • Older roads may have less sophisticated drainage, but all have features designed to take the water away from the road surface. It is necessary to clean and maintain these drainage provisions so that they can work properly. 

    Problems can occur even when drainage provisions are 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 flooding or being waterlogged 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 (for example 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 the water company will be responsible for repairing the damage. 

    Water is directed to drains by the road profile. Puddles (ponding) tend to occur if there is a depression in the road. This can be rectified where necessary by local patching of the road surface. 

    The following notes give guidance on who to contact for various types of flooding:

  • The water company own and manage the network of public foul and surface water sewers. The majority of public sewers are located in highways and we have a copy of the sewer maps, which can be viewed at the council offices. To report an overflowing public sewer, you should call Thames Water Utilities Customer Services on 0845 920 0800.
  • If your private drains or sewers are overflowing, you will need a drainage contractor to deal with any blockage. See 'Yellow Pages' under 'Drain and Pipe Cleaning'. If you are uncertain if any blockage is in the public or private sewers, the water company should be able to determine this, once on site, then recharge you the cost of any work on the private sewers.
  • For flooding from the public highway or reporting blocked road gullies or gratings, contact us on the details above.
  • The local water supply company are Essex and Suffolk Water Company (0845 782 0999). The water company are responsible for their supply up to and including the water stopcock.
  • This is the responsibility of the homeowner or landlord and would need the attention of a plumber (see 'Yellow Pages' or similar directories).
  • The main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency, on 0845 933 3111. In addition, the Agency provide a 'flood line', which is a 24 hour advice and information service for floods and flood warning on 0845 988 1188.
  • Watercourses, other than main rivers, are the responsibility of riparian owners. You are a riparian owner if your property or land is on, or very near, a watercourse. 

    Riparian owners have a duty to keep the watercourse clear of any obstruction to flow, and we can serve legal notices on riparian owners to deal with obstructions. 

    Certain 'strategic' watercourses, that are known to pose a high risk of property flooding if they become blocked, are checked and maintained by our contractor regularly.

  • Residents who are aware that their homes are at a high risk of flooding, for example as a result of the close proximity of a watercourse, are recommended to obtain sandbags from a builders' merchant to enable early preparation, as at times of flooding our contractor may not be able to reach all properties before flooding occurs.

Highways and Drainage

Frizlands Administration Depot

Frizlands Lane


RM10 7HX


Phone: 020 8215 3005

Email: 3000direct@lbbd.gov.uk