What Are The Differences Between Foul Water and Sewage Water Drainage?

clean toilet and bathroom

September 9, 2021

Sewage, drainage and waste water aren’t exactly topics that come up in everyday conversation – if they do, you either work in the water treatment or plumbing sectors, or your property has developed a fault that you need fixing.

So, if you have found yourself in need of having foul water and sewage water drainage explained in a little more detail, don’t worry, we have you covered. Find out what people mean when they talk about foul and sewage drainage water right here.

What Is Foul Water Drainage?

sewage pump that has been serviced

sewage pump that has been serviced

Let’s start by talking about foul water drainage. This is a really easy one to explain, and as the name suggests, it is probably the type of water waste that you least want to deal with as a property owner. Foul water drainage is the water that you will find being drained away from the kitchen, utility rooms, connected appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, and of course, bathrooms.

This includes toilets, baths, sinks and showers, so the foul water will contain everything you might expect to go down these connected drains.

Of course, all of these foul water drainage systems are going to be draining away from the property, and if your property is connected to the sewer system then obviously your foul water drainage is going to lead to the sewer eventually, and eventually to a sewer treatment plant.

What Is Surface Water Drainage?

Surface water is exactly what it sounds like – water that is collected on the surface of your property rather than from internal appliances. Rainwater is going to make up the main amount of volume here, with things like guttering, patio drainage, and driveway drainage all collecting and draining water throughout the year into your properties surface water drainage system

Unlike foul water, however, surface water drainage systems will not lead out to the sewer system. Instead, the water can safely be drained to a local waterway like a stream or river, or just be put into a soakaway as long as that soakaway doesn’t pose any threat to the properties around it from water leaking out and travelling towards nearby basements.

This difference in drainage between the two types of water we are discussing means that in all modern properties you are going to find that the drainage systems will be kept completely separate. Only in older properties are you going to find that drainage systems are combined, and in these situations, you can still look into options to have your drainage split and handled separately – though that is up to you.

The reason that these two drainage systems are separate is so that foul water and ground drainage water can be drained into the respectively allocated sewer network. Foul water goes into a foul, or wastewater sewer. This is the kind of stereotypical sewer that is drawn to mind when the word ‘sewer’ is spoken, and collects all wastewater from connected properties to be deposited in a sewage treatment centre.

Surface water runs into a surface water sewer. As mentioned, this sewer deals with non-contaminated water, so it’s safe to be put into waterways or soakaways as applicable.

What if I’m Not Connected to the Sewer?

If you aren’t connected to the main sewer system, you don’t have to worry. It’s likely that you are already aware of a system in place on your property that deals with foul water and surface water. You may for example have a septic tank that you make use of, or even your own sewage treatment plant to deal with your wastewater.

As for your ground drainage water, it may well be the case that you have a soakaway already installed, or even a natural river on or near your property that you can connect your groundwater drainage to, via a French drain or otherwise.

Either way, we hope that this article has provided a little more information on the differences between foul water and ground drainage water, their respective drainage systems and how it all links into your property.

If you have any questions about your properties ability to connect and adequately pump its waste to the sewer system, or if you suspect that you might need a sewage pump to help move your wastewater away from a below-ground area, then don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 019 9949 or get in touch online today.


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