Public Health


What is a Foul Drain and what is a Sewer?

Simply put a foul drain is a pipe that normally carries wastewater from only one premises, whereas a sewer is a pipe which carries wastewater from more than one premises.

Who is responsible for drainage?

If you own your own home and a defective drain serves only your property, then you are responsible for the maintenance and clearance of all blockages that arise. It’s the owner’s responsibility for all sections of drainage both above and below ground right up to the point it leaves the boundary of your property, or, if a sewer runs through your property, you are responsible for the drain up to the point it connects with the sewer. Sewers are the responsibility of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

Defective rainwater drainage

Defective rainwater drains are the responsibility of the owner of the property. If a defect with the rainwater drainage of one property is causing a nuisance to the occupants of a neighbouring property, the matter could be investigated by the Council’s Public Health Team.

Leaking water overflow pipes

This should be reported to Dwr Cymru Welsh Water  on 0800 085 3968 or via the Dwr Cymru website

Cross-drainage connection

It is illegal for foul waste pipes (waste from toilet, kitchen or bathroom) to discharge into a surface water drainage system (intended for just rainwater disposal). Pembrokeshire County Council’s Public Health Team can require re-routing of illegal drain misconnections.


Tenants are rarely responsible for carrying out repairs of defective drains. Tenants should report any defect to their landlord or agent. If this does not remedy the situation, please contact the Council.

What about non-mains drainage issues?

On occasions where properties are too far away from a main sewer for connection to be possible, there are several alternative systems available, with the main types being :-

  • Septic tanks
  • Cesspools
  • Package sewage treatment plants
  • Reed bed system

Sometimes these systems become defective. In these cases it will be the responsibility of the property owner(s) to repair any defects. As with mains drainage, the Council will try to assist home owners with such systems informally to resolve their problem, however, a statutory notice can also be served to require works to resolve the problem.

Am I covered by my household insurance policy?  

Each policy is different it is therefore important to read the fine print, generally if your policy does cover you for drainage defects it will usually be confined to pipes within the boundary of the property insured and would normally only cover accidental defects not "wear and tear".

For Drainage enquiries please contact the Public Health Team on (01437) 764551

ID: 2385, revised 23/03/2023