Sewer blockages and overflows
Two networks, two different purposes.
The sewer and stormwater networks are separate systems.
- The stormwater network protects against flooding. Stormwater pipes collect rainwater run-off and direct it into the stormwater network where it is fed into the waterways.
- The sewer network protects health and the environment. The sewerage network carries sewage from bathrooms, kitchens and laundries to treatment plants for processing.
Property owners need to ensure stormwater does not enter the sewer sytem around their home. Excess water in the sewer may cause pipes to become overloaded and lead to sewage overflows in people's properties. To protect your home, check that water from your roof downpipes, pool backwash and landscaping run-off is not diverted into the sewerage system.
For more information read the Keep stormwater out of the sewer brochure.
Who is responsible for maintaining the sewerage system?
Your responsibilities as the property owner
Property owners are responsible for the installation, repair, maintenance and replacement of all the private fittings and pipes on their property up to the sewer connection point. If a leak or blockage is detected in these pipes, it is your responsibility to fix it. We recommend you contact a licensed plumber to rectify the problem as soon as possible.
We are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipes leading away from the connection point to the street. If a problem is detected in these pipes, it is our responsibility to fix it. To report a fault, please contact us on 1800 245 092 or visit the Report a fault or damage page.
How to prevent blockages?
Blockages occur when there is something inside your pipe that stops it working properly. About 20% of all blockages in our sewerage system result from putting the wrong things down sinks and toilets. You can find out more on the fact sheet Think before you put it down the drain.
You can protect your home from sewer blockages and keep your drains flowing by following these simple tips:
Garden and driveway
- Do no pour used motor oils or other hazardous chemicals down the drain. Contact your council for information on safe disposal.
- Make sure your roof downpipes are not directing stormwater into the overflow relief gully (ORG). This could cause sewage to back-up into your home during heavy rain. Check our Overflow Relief Gully page for more information.
- Nappies, sanitary products and other personal hygiene items belong in the bin.
- You can also place a strainer on your shower drain to catch loose items.
- Don't use the sink as a garbage bin for food scraps. Coffee grinds and tea leaves should also be disposed of in the bin.
- Use a sink strainer to catch small items and scraps before they get washed away.
- Don't pour boiling water down the sink. Water in excess of 65 degrees celsius could damage PVC pipes.
- Cooking oils and fats often harden in drains creating greasy plugs which can clog your pipes.
- Use the recommended dose of detergent to avoid build-up in your washing machine and laundry pipes.
- Biodegradable and phosphate-free products are also kinder to the environment and less likely to cause blockages.