Road gullies and drains

Gullies are small chambers that form the top part of the surface water drainage system. Rain water from the road surface flows through the gratings into the gullies and then into the underground drainage system.

Who looks after road gullies and drains

We are responsible for gullies and gully grids (the metal gratings in the gutter) on adopted roads in Cheshire East.

  • Check our online gully tracker to see the gullies we maintain and when we last emptied it. We will empty all gullies before October 2022.

When we go to visit the gullies, we empty them and check that they are working. We inspect them for any damage and will arrange any repairs if they are required.

You must look after gullies and drains on or under your private land. United Utilities maintain public foul water and surface water drains and sewers.

When to report an issue with a gully or drain

If you think any gully or drain is causing an immediate danger, such as water entering your house, contact us on 0300 123 5020 during working hours or outside of working hours on 0300 123 5025.

Where there is a flooding emergency or danger to life, call 999.

Before you report an issue with a gully or drain you should be aware that gullies vary in the speed they can drain water away. Some will overflow during heavy rain even if there is no blockage. The water will clear when the rain stops. We will not visit overflowing gullies during heavy rainfall unless the water is causing a risk to life or property.

Each gully has a trap to collect and stop leaves, litter and dirt from entering the drain and causing a blockage. Whenever the trap is full the gully’s drainage will slow down and may cause it to overflow. This is a likely cause of most non-urgent issues and should be picked up during our routine maintenance.

If you think leaves, dirt or litter are blocking the gully grating you should make a report under the 'street sweeping' category to address this.

You should report a problem to us if:

  • water flowing off the road is at risk of entering a building e.g. house or garage
  • there is standing water on the road obstructing safe passage
  • water on the road has not drained away after the rain has stopped
  • there is a risk of ice forming on the road
  • we have not already scheduled maintenance work 
Report a gully or drain issue

After you report a gully or drain issue

When we get reports of blocked gullies and drains we check the situation and decide if we need to take action. If we need to do something, our first action will be to jet the system.

Jetting the system

We jet gullies to either clear a blockage or find out if there are other problems with the drainage system.  We give priority to issues that present the biggest danger to road users or buildings. We don’t consider water on the highway to be a priority unless it poses an immediate danger.

We plan jetting up to two weeks in advance, but this can change if more urgent issues arise. See our list of planned high pressure water jetting work (MS Excel, 11.6KB).

We have a list of locations where high pressure water jetting work is needed (MS Excel, 16KB) but has not yet been programmed. These locations are listed by parish and is subject to change.

Further works and major repairs

Jetting should resolve simple problems quite quickly, but we might need to do further work to fix the issue.  Complex problems such as excavations, or replacing parts of the drainage system can take much longer to resolve. If we can’t fix a problem straight away we will make the area safe until repairs can be carried out.

See our programme of drainage repairs scheduled for the 2022/23 financial year.

If the problem involves a utility company we will contact them to let them know. If we discover the problem is on private land we will contact the landowner and work with them to try and resolve the problem. If the flooding is not affecting the highway it will be passed to our Flood Risk team.

Contact us

Report a problem online

If you consider a highways issue to be dangerous, or an emergency, please call us on:

0300 123 5020
(8:30am – 5:00pm)

0300 123 5025
(after 5pm and before 8:30am, including weekends)

Floor 6
Delamere House

Delamere Street Crewe

Page last reviewed: 26 January 2023