Flooding (drains and gullies)

A very important feature of road construction is drainage. New roads include specially designed drainage systems intended to remove water efficiently from the surface of the highway. This allows for the safe passage for all vehicles and pedestrians.

Older roads may have less sophisticated drainage systems, but all have features designed to remove the water from the road surface. It is necessary to clean and maintain these drainage provisions so that they can work properly.

Problems can occur even when drainage provisions are clean and well maintained. Flooded and waterlogged roads result when the amount of water arriving on the road is greater than the capacity of the drainage facilities.

Exceptional rainfall, or a road is in a low lying area, are situations that can lead to the road flooding or being waterlogged, even when drains are in good working order.

Material carried into the drains by floods can also lead to them becoming blocked. Drainage grills and grating on gullies can become blocked very quickly when materials like mud are deposited on the road or when there is a heavy fall of leaves. If a flooded road is caused by a ruptured water main the water company is responsible for repairing the damage.

Water is directed to drains by the road profile. Puddles (ponding) tend to occur if there is a depression in the road. This can be rectified where necessary by local patching of the road surface.

The following notes give guidance on who to contact for various types of flooding:

Flooding from main public sewers:

The water company own and manage the network of main public sewers. The majority of public sewers are located on highways. The water company holds a copy of the current sewer map. To report an overflowing public sewer, you should contact:

Thames Water
Tel: 08459 200 800
View: thameswater

Flooding from private sewers or drains:

If your private drains or sewers are overflowing, you will need a drainage contractor to deal with any blockage. Please search for "drain and pipe cleaning".

If you are uncertain if any blockage is in the public or private sewers, your water company should be able to determine this, once on site, then recharge you the cost of any work on the private sewers.

Flooding from the Public Highway

For flooding from the public highway or reporting blocked road gullies or gratings, contact us:

Public Realm

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Report flooding online form

Flooding from a burst water main

The local water supply company are Thames Water on 08459 200 800. The water company are responsible for their supply up to and including the water stopcock.

Flooding from a water service pipe or internal pipework

This is the responsibility of the homeowner or landlord and would need the attention of a plumber.

Flooding from a main river

The main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency. In addition, the Agency provides a "Floodline", which is a 24 hour advice and information service for floods and flood warning.

Environment Agency – 0845 933 3111
Floodline – 0845 988 1188

 If you wish to report any other incidence of flooding , please use this online form.