Flood Management - Sources of flooding, sewers and SuDS

Flood Management - Sources of flooding, sewers and SuDS


Main river: the larger rivers and those designated as having a critical impact on flood risk. The Environment Agency is responsible for these.

Sea: flooding from tidal water.

Ordinary watercourse: smaller watercourses, ditches and drains or culvert .  If any work is required in or around the watercourse advice must be obtained from your Lead Local Flood Authority

Surface Water : Water that does not make it into a watercourse or drain. Usually follows heavy rainfall and can come from hard surfaces such as roads, roofs and patios and from already saturated agricultural land and sports fields.

Groundwater: water present underground.


Sewerage Types & Owners

Public sewer: there are three types:

  • surface water only, taking rainwater mostly from roofs, patios, roads and drives and serving more than one property;
  • foul only (sewage), this takes only waste water from bathrooms, toilets and kitchens and should not react to rainfall; and
  • combined, which takes both surface water and foul.

In the main, the public sewers are the responsibility of Northumbrian Water.

Highway drainage: Rain water enters through gully grates in the road or to the side of the carriageway.  Any drainage structure such as a culvert, which passes beneath the highway will also be the included. The local authority is responsible for the highway maintenance of the gullies and drains.

Private drainage: this is the responsibility of the person who owns the property it drains into.

Land drainage: predominantly drainage from agricultural land and playing fields to a water course and is the responsibility of the landowner.

Roadside ditches: fed by a variety of sources and are the responsibility of the landowner adjacent to the ditch .


Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS)

SuDS are drainage systems that are considered to be environmentally beneficial and contribute to improvement of open spaces where people live.  SuDS are designed to mimic nature and are a way of managing flooding, pollution and biodiversity.





If you are having problems establishing responsibility and need advice please contact  floodmanagement@newcastle.gov.uk or call 0191 211 6848 (Office hours Mon - Fri, 8.30am - 4.00pm)

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