Representatives from Yorkshire Water have advised Steeton on what to do in the wake of a sewer crisis.

Michael Denney and Mat Pollard from the company were asked to attend the meeting of Sutton with Eastburn Parish Council after streets in the village overflowed with sewerage.

At the time residents and councillors complained of “buck passing” between Bradford Council, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water as to who was responsible for the problem.

Councillor Lorraine Harding proposed that representatives came to advise councillors and residents on the best course of action to avoid this and get sewer problems sorted as quickly as possible.

Customer care manager Mr Denney responded by saying that a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week call centre was in operation to deal with people’s concerns and identify who was responsible for the sewer.

He said: “If you ring up the call centre, almost immediately they should be able to tell you whether the sewer is public or private. If they cannot then they might have to check but they will get back to you within two hours.”

Mr Pollard said it was a commonly held misconception that all sewers and drains were the responsibility of Yorkshire Water.

He said: “It is often very confusing. In each council there is usually a land drainage department, Bradford is a big council and it has a few land drainage experts. If you have a land drainage issue you want to pass it on to them.

“For unadopted roads, the drainage is the responsibility of the residents. If it is an adopted road, the highways authority is responsible for road gullies and highways drainage systems.”

He added: “If, say, a farmer owns a field with land drains and those land drains on a field overflow on to the road, it would be the farmer’s responsibility.

“If the sewer does serve two or more properties and was built prior to 1937 then it is the responsibility of the water authority.”

He said that Yorkshire Water kept a record of sewers and should be able to let people know.

“In a situation where it feels like there is a bit of ping-pong going on between authorities the thing we would all do is have a site meeting with environmental health, the consumer and Yorkshire Water,” he said.

“Most of us have worked in the job for a long time. We know people from the other agencies and can usually get it sorted out pretty quickly without trouble.”

Parish council chairman Cllr David Mullen thanked the representatives for attending and said: “Until we had that meeting I thought the vast majority of drains were Yorkshire Water’s. It came as a surprise that about three drains in Steeton are Yorkshire Water’s and the rest are anybody else’s.”

The Yorkshire Water call centre phone number is 0845 124 2424.