Drainage and Flooding

Report a problem

East Sussex Highways is responsible for making sure that rainfall flows away from the road and pavement and into the drainage system.

In heavy rain, it can sometimes take up to two hours for all the water to drain away. If there is still water on the road or pavement after this time, please do report the problem.

About our drainage system

The East Sussex Highway drainage network consists of 98,000 roadside drainage gullies, connected by a system of pipes that eventually flow into ditches, streams, rivers or the sea. 

We also maintain over 500km of ditches and approximately 10,000 roadside grips. A grip is a shallow channel that drains water from the highway into the ditch.


Cleaning programmes

East Sussex Highways cleans all roadside drainage gullies and, where necessary, connecting pipework at least once every two years. 

We use a machine called a Jetter which sucks out silt and debris from the drain into our gully emptying vehicles for later disposal. 

Once the debris has been removed, the machines test the drain to see if it is working by blasting clean water into the drain. If the water runs away, this means the drain is clear. If the water does not run away, we jet high pressure water for 5 metres through the connecting pipes to clear any blockages. 

Rather than clear all gullies the same number of times each year, we have optimised our gully emptying frequencies. This means that we empty those gullies that often become blocked more frequently than those that don't. 

What if further work is needed?

If we find a problem with the roadside drain or the drainage system then we may need to carry out further investigation to see what the problem is. For example using cameras to see further into the drain.

If further works are needed, we will prioritise this along with other work. Each case is looked at individually. If we know that there is a potentially dangerous drain, then we will repair it as a matter of urgency. 

Why wasn't the drain cleaned?

Sometimes there are parked cars blocking the roadside drains when we try to clear them. If this happens we will ask residents to move their cars and come back at a later date to clean the drain.

Sometimes we are unable to remove the lid of the roadside drain as it has become jammed. In these cases we may have to return at a later date to fix the lid before we can clean the drain.

Who is responsible for drains that cross the pavement?

Cross channel drains carry water from a property’s roof, through the pavement and into a roadside drain.

Maintenance of cross channel drains is the responsibility of the property owner. If cross channel drains are not maintained, property owners may be liable for any claims should a member of the public fall or injure themselves.

What if a drain is covered with leaves?

If the road has a kerb, then the local district or borough council will be responsible for cleaning and removing the leaves.

If the road does not have a kerb and the drain is still blocked after two hours of rain please contact us so that we can investigate. 

Flooding

What if the road is flooded?

If there is flooding on the highway please contact us so that we can investigate the matter further. 

The local highway steward will attend to the flooding if it is urgent. For example, if a house is flooding or if the road needs closing. If necessary we can put out signs to warn motorists of the water on the road. If the flood is not urgent or dangerous the steward will investigate but not straight away.

We do not provide any type of emergency response to flooding which is not associated with the public highway.

For all other types of flooding, please see the information below. 

How do I report flooding of a road or pavement?

If there is major flooding on the highway please call us on 0345 60 80 193. 

The local highway steward will attend to the flooding if it is urgent. For example, if a property is flooding or i the road needs closing. If necessary we can put out signs to warn motorists of the water on the road.

For minor flooding you can report a problem online. Please note that in heavy rain, it can sometimes take up to two hours for all the water to drain away. If there is still water on the road or pavement after this time, please let us know.

What do I do if flooding is affecting my property?

If a building is flooding, then you should call the emergency services.

If your property is flooding due to water from the public highway, then please call us on 0345 60 80 193.

If your garden or property is being flooded due to groundwater levels being high, East Sussex County Council's Flood Risk Management Team would also like to hear about your situation to help them understand groundwater flood risks across the County. Please call 0345 60 80 193 and ask for the Flood Risk Management Team. 

You can find out more about flooding from the East Sussex County Council Flood Risk Management Team.

Do you provide sandbags?

We don’t provide sandbags. Bags and sand can be bought in some DIY stores and local builders merchants. 

How do I report flooding from a burst water main?

Flooding from a burst water main needs to be reported to the water provider.

Southern Water - 0330 303 1263

South East Water - 0333 000 0002

How do I report a blocked sewer or sewage flooding?

A blocked sewer or sewage flooding needs to be reported to Southern Water on 0330 303 1263.

How do I report flooding from a river or the sea?

Please call the Environment Agency flood line on 0345 988 1188.