A drain is a pipe that serves only one building as a means of conveying water and waste water away to a sewer.
A lateral drain is a section of drain positioned outside the boundary of a building, connecting with the drains from other buildings to become a sewer.
Drains within the boundary of a building are the responsibility of the owner (unless the drains of other properties run through their property), including liability for any maintenance and repairs. Insurance can be taken out to cover work on private drains.
The environmental health department of a local authority can order a property owner to carry out improvement or replacement works in certain circumstances, such as if the drain is in poor condition and is causing a blockage. The local authority may undertake the works and charge the property owner for them.
On 6 September 2010 the government announced that most lateral drains connected to the public sewer network would be transferred to the ownership of the regulated sewerage companies in England and Wales. Lateral drains that were connected to the public sewer network before 1 July 2011 were transferred on 1 October 2011.
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