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A very important feature of road construction is drainage. New roads include designed drainage systems intended to remove water efficiently from the surface of the highway to provide a safe passage for all vehicles and pedestrians.
Older roads may have less sophisticated drainage, but all have features designed to take the water away from the road surface. It is necessary to clean and maintain these drainage provisions so that they can work properly.
Causes of flooding of the highway
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 that take it away.
Exceptional rainfall, a road being in a low lying area, changes in 'run off' from adjacent fields and rivers overflowing are some 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 gratings for example on gullies, can become blocked very quickly when debris 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 will be 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 or provision of an additional highway drain.
Who to contact
The following notes give guidance on who to contact for various types of flooding:
Flooding from public sewers
The water company own and manage the network of public foul and surface water sewers.
To report an overflowing public sewer, you should contact Severn Trent Plc on Freephone 0800 783 4444.
The majority of public sewers are located in highways and the Council has a copy of the sewer maps, which can be viewed at:
Street Scene Responsive Maintenance
City of Wolverhampton Council
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. See "Yellow Pages" under "Drain and Pipe Cleaning".
If you are uncertain if any blockage is in the public or private sewers, the 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 grating, please contact the Road Safety Team providing as much information as you can to enable us to respond as quickly as possible.
Street Scene Responsive Maintenance
Wolverhampton City Council
Flooding from a burst water main
The local water supply company for Wolverhampton is Severn Trent Plc. They can be contacted on Freephone 0800 783 4444. The water company is 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. Telephone: 0845 933 3111.In addition, the Agency provide a "Floodline", which is a 24-hour advice and information service for floods and flood warning on 0845 988 1188.
The main 'rivers' in Wolverhampton are:
- Smestow Brook
- River Tame (Bilston Brook)
Flooding from other water courses
Watercourses, other than main rivers, are the responsibility of riparian owners.
You are a riparian owner if your property or land is on, or very near, a watercourse. Riparian owners have a duty to keep the watercourse clear of any obstruction to flow and the Council can serve legal notices on riparian owners to deal with obstructions.
Certain strategic watercourses, that are known to pose a high risk of property flooding if they become blocked, are checked and maintained by the council's contractor on a regular basis.