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Flooding advice

This page will help you if you're preparing for flooding or heavy rain, wanting to know what to do during a flood , getting your home back to normal , understanding more about the causes of flooding , or simply seeing how we're helping reduce sewer flooding .

Preparing for a flood or heavy rain

Is your home at risk from flooding

Check if your home is at risk of flooding

You can view flood risk maps on the Environment Agency's website . Just type in your postcode and you'll see which areas are at risk of flooding. Flood risk maps

Flood alerts

Get the latest flood warnings

Sign up to receive free flood alerts by email or SMS from the Environment Agency (EA). Alternatively, you can search for the latest flood warnings directly on their website or call the EA Floodline on 0845 988 1188 .

Check your insurance

Check your home insurance

It's worth checking that your home and contents are insured and if not getting some before the rain hits. Contact your landlord if you're renting.

Essential items - baby beaker

Prepare a kit of essential items

  • Home insurance documents
  • Torch and batteries
  • Warm, waterproof clothing and blankets
  • First aid kit and medication
  • Bottled water and food
  • Items for babies / children (e.g. nappies)

Protect your valuables

Protect your valuables

Any valuable possessions can be moved to safety before a flood. Things like electrical equipment and furniture can be moved to a higher floor or temporary storage such as a friends house who aren't at risk.

What to do if your home is flooded

Protecting your health during a flood

Phone your insurance company

Clean your house after a flood

Contact us

Protect your health

Phone your insurance company

Clean your house

Contact us

1 . Avoid contact with the sewage

If your property has been damaged as a result of flooding, please contact your insurance company for advice.

1. If you've used disinfectant, don't wipe down surfaces immediately

If flooding occurs inside your property as a result of a public sewer flooding or you see pollution in a watercourse, please call us.

We will ensure that:

2. Protect cuts and grazes with waterproof dressings and war protective clothing during cleaning up

2. Place any soft furnishings and any other items that are heavily soiled or damaged beyond repair outside

1. Any excess waste water is removed from your home or garden.

3 Don't eat any fruit or vegetables growing in the garden

3. Salvage soft furnishings by leaving them to dry out, then vacuum.

2 . The area that has been flooded is cleaned and disinfected

4 Turn off or isolate electricity and/or gas points

4. Wash down all hard surfaces with a mild detergent/


3. In the case of flooding incidents inside your home, we will investigate why it happened.

5 Ensure your home/outbuildings are well ventilated

5. Clothing and bedding should be

laundered on a hot wash (60°c +) or professionally cleaned.

6 Contact your GP immediately if you have any symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting

6. Allow everything to dry thoroughly - this will help destroy


  • If flooding occurs outside your property, please wait for the rain to stop as the excess water is likely to drain away as the weather improves. If you're still concerned, contact us.
  • If the flooding is coming from a watercourse, such as a river or stream, please contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807060 or 0845 9881188 .

Print out one of our handy leaflets

Helping to get your home back to normal (260kb)

What to do if your property is flooded with sewage (1mb)

If you've had internal flooding that wasn't caused by exceptional rainfall you may be entitled to be reimbursed for your annual sewerage charges. Please read our Customer Charter leaflet in our Code of Practice section for information on your rights and our responsibilities.

Who can help during a flood?

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has an important role in warning you about the risk of flooding, reducing the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea and minimising the impact. Visit their website for the latest flood warnings or general advice.

Local Authority

Your local authority looks after surface water drainage (i.e. water running off fields) and are responsible for dealing with blocked drains in your area. They also deal with floods which have been caused by blocked grates or gullies. They may be able to provide sandbags. Find your local authority .


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have overall responsibility for the delivery of the flood defence services in England and Wales.


The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. We work with them to assess the vulnerability of our assets to flooding and power loss put together measures to improve their resilience. Visit their website

Insurance company

Check with your insurance company whether your property is covered for flood damage.


Our/customers' responsibilities

We're responsible for all of the public sewer systems in the region. After October 2011 we'll also be responsible for the maintenance of some private drainage systems. Until this time private sewers will be the joint responsibility of each property that drains into them. Find out more

Causes of flooding

There are 4 main reasons why your property might flood:

Surface run off

Water coming out of a drain pipeLight rainfall normally soaks away into the ground, runs overland or flows through a series of pipes to the nearest watercourse.

During heavy rainfall and particularly if the ground is already saturated or very hard, water does not soak in and runs immediately to the river or watercourse. If rain continues the rivers can become swollen leading to flooding of large areas.


Flood defences and surface water drainage systems are designed to meet demanding national standards. These standards accommodate very heavy rainfall and in most cases flooding does not occur. However, systems can be overwhelmed during exceptional conditions. River flood plains store the majority of this excess but in some areas there is no storage available. In rural areas sewers may only be provided for foul water with surface water being directed to soakaways.


Drain blocked with fatPartial or total blockages of watercourses or pipes, often caused by people putting things link cooking fat or nappy wipes down their drains (see photo) can lead to flooding, even in dry weather. Blockages in dry weather cause less flooding and are usually easier to deal with.

Blockages of watercourses often affect private land owners who may be responsible for maintaining them. Watercourses may be culverted or piped.

Find out more about our Doing the Dirty campaign which is encouraging customers to think before they put kitchen fat down their sinks and put things like baby wipes down the toilet. You can also get a free Fat Cake Kit to collect your cooking fat and feed the birds

Seasonal affects and climate change

Winter rainfall tends to be more prolonged affecting large river systems. The effect can be worsened by snow melt. Spring and summer flooding is usually caused by less widespread but extremely heavy rain falling on hard ground or paved areas, creating run-off which overwhelms localised drainage systems.

We've also had more extreme weather events like the flash floods in June 2007 which are often attributed to climate change and our increasing use of energy and fuels.

What we're doing to reduce sewer flooding

We're investing £83 million to help reduce sewer flooding renewing and renovating sewer pipes and enhancing some of our waste water treatment works. See where we're working

How you can help us

Putting the wrong things down toilets and sinks can cause problem blockages in our sewers which can lead to flooding. As part of our Doing the Dirty campaign we're asking for our customers' help to prevent some of the 18,000 blockages we clear each year, 17% of which are caused by wipes and nappies being thrown down the toilet and 20% by fat, oil and grease being poured down kitchen sinks.

Get your free Fat Cake Kit

Fat Cake making kitWe're giving away free Fat Cake Kits to help you dispose of leftover kitchen fat. Simply pour your cooking fat and grease into the kit and use it to feed the birds.

Get a free Fat Cake Kit

8 ways to protect your home during a flood

1. Plan how you could stop water entering your home e.g. sandbags or flood sacks, drain plugs, door guards, air brick covers.  Search for stockists online.

2. Move your valuable belongings to a safe/dry place and roll up carpets and rugs. You may also need to move your car.

3. Check your home insurance to make sure you're covered and keep details in a handy/dry place.

4. Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water and let everyone in your house know too.

5. Disconnect cookers, washing machines and dishwashers that are connected to gas or water pipes - to reduce damage if the appliances float

6. Prepare a flood kit including a torch, warm and waterproof clothing, water, food and medication.

7. Prepare a list of contact names and telephone numbers for utility providers, insurance company, neighbours or relatives.

8. Think if there is anyone in your community that will need help such as a neighbour with an

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