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Environment and animals

Water and drainage problems

Out-of-hours emergencies

During normal opening times we deal with urgent problems within 2 hours; use our eForms to report problems.

To report an emergency (fire, flood, criminal act, or circumstances posing risk to public health and safety) that requires immediate attention 'out of hours' (after 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, or between 3.00pm Friday and 8.30am Monday), telephone: 01904 551550.

We maintain, repair and can investigate:

  • drains
  • gullies
  • manhole covers
  • ditches
  • standing water

Report a water and drainage problem

Use our eForm to report water and drainage problems. See which water and drainage problems we can help with and our response times.

Report a Water or Drainage problem

Our water and drainage responsibilities

We can:

  • fix or replace loose, damaged or missing manhole covers
  • investigate standing water or floods
  • clear, fix and replace blocked, damaged or missing gullies
  • clear blocked or flooded ditches

We cannot help with:

  • waterlogged garden caused by clay soil in the area; contact us if you need advice on land drainage
  • shared sewers and the sewerage pipes outside property boundaries (contact Yorkshire Water)
  • drains within your property boundary (these are your responsibility); contact your landlord if you live in a rented property, or report a council house repair

Our Neighbourhood Enforcement Team investigate some drain and sewerage problems, such as private drains affecting a neighbouring property, risk to public health, and sewage leaking onto a public footpath.

Our response to water and drainage problems

We aim to respond to:

  • urgent issues within 2 hours
  • standard issues within 4 working days

Land drainage

The law governing land drainage is complex. Statutory land drainage and flood risk management responsibilities are split between us and several other organisations, including:

All of these authorities have 'permissive powers' over ordinary watercourses, which includes approval of proposed works and requiring landowners to undertake maintenance works to watercourses to prevent nuisance.

Responsibility for the upkeep of ordinary watercourses usually falls to the owners of the land adjacent to the watercourse.

The Environment Agency is responsible for the main rivers in York:

The Environment Agency are also responsible for 'critical ordinary watercourses', which have the potential to cause property flooding:

  • Bur Dike
  • Tang Hall Beck
  • Osbaldwick Beck
  • Holgate Beck
  • Blue Beck

Also see

Waste, Highways and Environmental Services

Telephone: 01904 551551