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What Type of Drainage Do I Have?

What Type of Drainage Do I Have?

If you’re planning to conduct building work or maintenance that is going to affect your drainage, the first thing you need to do is identify the type of drainage system your home has in place.

Most properties operate on a dual drainage system, commonly referred to as the mains drainage. This system deals with household waste and external water such as rainwater and runoff from roofs. While both systems harmoniously co-exist with one another, if they ever intertwine it can have disastrous consequences.

Surface Water System

The first part of your mains drainage is the surface water system. This system deals with water external to your home, such as rainwater, runoff from roofs and water from driveways and guttering. 

Often, water from these sources simply goes straight into the ground or a nearby watercourse. It is very rarely treated, meaning it is imperative it hasn’t become contaminated by your foul water system. 

If this is the case, it can cause a whole host of problems to the environment including pollution and the death of wildlife.  

Foul Water System

The other part of your dual drainage system is the foul water system. As you may have guessed, this part of the drainage deals with all your household waste such as toilet, bathroom and kitchen water. 

This type of water does need to be dealt with, and the drainage system will take it from your home to a sewage plant where it will be appropriately treated. 

As previously mentioned, it is important this does not mix with your other drainage systems. As well as potentially causing environmental harm, it could even end up in drinking water if rerouted.

Combined Drainage System

While less common than a dual drainage system, there are some properties in the UK that take a combined approach to drainage.  

Rather than having two separate pipeworks for surface and foul water, a combined system uses just one system of pipes for both. It collects rainwater, as well as waste from your home, and moves it to the appropriate areas through one unified system. 

Nowadays, houses are not built with a combined drainage system. But, if you own a home that is more than 50 years old, you may find that this is the system used.    

How to Identify Your Drainage System


open manhole, repairing drainage system

There are a number of ways to identify what type of drainage system your home has. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is by the age of your property. 

If your house was built in 1970 or sooner, then it is most likely that it has a dual drainage system. Manholes are also a big giveaway. If you have double the manholes then it is likely a dual drain as there will be a hole for each system. Often, these holes will be next to one another. 

To be extra sure, you can even lift the lids off the manhole covers and see what’s inside. Dual systems will usually be next to each other, with the foul system always below the surface water system. This is to prevent any contamination from the foul system. 

At Express Clear Solutions, we’re experts on all kinds of drainage systems. We offer a wide range of services, including repairs, CCTV drain surveys, unblocking and general maintenance. For more information, get in touch today.  


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