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Common Terms for Drainage Components

In the context of drainage systems in the United Kingdom, there are several common terms used to describe various components and aspects of the infrastructure. Here are some of the most common UK drainage terms.

Metal drain partially covered by autumnal leaves by a pavement.

  1. Gully : A drainage point usually located at the side of a road or pavement, designed to collect surface water.
  2. Manhole : A covered opening in a drainage system that allows access for inspection and maintenance.
  3. Sewer : A pipe or conduit that carries wastewater and sewage from buildings to a treatment facility or a designated disposal point.
  4. Drain : A pipe or channel that carries surface water or wastewater away from a specific area.
  5. Surface Water Drainage : The system designed to collect and transport rainwater or surface runoff away from roads, pavements, and buildings.
  6. Combined Sewer : A sewer system that carries both wastewater and rainwater runoff in the same pipe.
  7. Interceptor : A device installed in a drainage system to remove pollutants or debris, preventing them from entering the main sewer.
  8. Soakaway : An underground structure or pit filled with rubble or other materials, designed to allow surface water to slowly infiltrate into the ground.
  9. Permeable Paving : Paving materials that allow water to pass through, helping to reduce surface water runoff.
  10. Stormwater Management : The planning and implementation of systems to control and manage rainwater runoff during storms.
  11. Foul Water  : Wastewater from toilets, kitchens, and other sources that requires treatment before disposal.
  12. Land Drainage : The management of water levels in soil for agricultural purposes, often involving the use of pipes or ditches.
  13. Culvert : A structure that allows water to flow under a road, railway, or similar obstruction.
  14. Headwall : A structure placed at the end of a culvert or drainage pipe to control the flow of water.
  15. SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) : Drainage systems designed to manage water in a way that is environmentally sustainable, often incorporating features like permeable surfaces and green infrastructure.


These terms are commonly used in the UK, and understanding them is essential for those involved in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of drainage systems.

If you’re looking to get work done on your drainage system, or have noticed a serious problem, get in touch with us now.



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