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Sewer Blockages

Sewer Blockages

Sewer blockages (chokes) can occur within the pipes of a sewerage system which will often stop the flow of sewage away from your home. 

They can occur for numerous reasons such as:

  • Rubbish, children’s toys, tennis balls, nappies, clothing, sanitary pads/tampons, colostomy bags, cooking waste, sand and other wastes not suitable for flushing into the sewer system or putting down the drains
  • Tree roots infiltrating the property pipes
  • Pipes that have been crushed or flattened
  • Pipes that have been poorly laid
  • Illegal connection of storm water pipes causing overflow when it rains

Responsibility for the maintenance of the sewer network pipes is shared between the property owner and Wingecarribee Shire Council (WSC).

What is my responsibility?

The property owner is responsible for all of the fittings and pipes inside the property up to the connection point with WSC’s pipes. 

Any pipes and fittings on the owner’s side of the connection point including the Boundary Riser (may be a Boundary Trap or Inspection Shaft) is the responsibility of the property owner. This includes any repairs, replacements or maintenance costs associated with these pipes and fittings.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that any manholes, lamp holes, boundary risers, gully traps within your property boundary are easily accessible in the event of a blockage or overflow. They should be clear of any objects or debris.

PDF LinkCouncil Waste Water Services – A guide to responsibilities

What are the signs of a sewer blockage or cracked pipes?

  • Toilets, basins, baths or tubs are slow to empty
  • Toilets overflow or fill higher than usual
  • Gully-traps in the yard overflow when the toilet is flushed or when basins or baths are released
  • Gurgling noises occur in sanitary drains

What should I do if I have a sewer blockage?

You will need to determine exactly where the problem is:

  • If the blockage is Boundary Riser, the property owner is responsible and will need to engage a plumber.
  • If the blockage is beyond the Boundary Riser i.e. in the sewer main or manhole, please contact WSC and we will fix the problem at no cost.
  • If you are unsure where the blockage is, please contact WSC. Our team will attend to fix the problem at our cost if it is within the responsibility of WSC. If it is determined to be within your responsibility area, we will provide you with options for clearing the blockages in your pipe, such as contacting a plumber.

Note: If a sewer blockage is determined to be WSC’s responsibility following investigations from a private plumber, WSC will not be held responsible for the incurred costs from engaging the private plumber. However a WSC Crew will attend to clear the blockage at no cost to the property owner.

How do I know where the blockage is?

  • If the blockage occurs only when you use one of your fixtures, or you have a slowly draining toilet, sink or shower, it may be a blockage in your property service drain or in the pipework, please contact a private plumber to investigate.
  • If the blockage occurs when you use all of your fixtures, it may be a blockage within WSC’s sewer network, please contact Wingecarribee Shire Council on 02 4868 0888.
  • If sewage is spilling continuously or you hear a bubbling sound and no fixtures are being used, call Wingecarribee Shire Council on 02 4868 0888.

Note: You can find out where Council’s pipes are by submitting a request to Dial Before You Dig (1100). You can also find out where your internal pipes are by purchasing a Drainage Diagram from our Customer Service Team on 02 4868 0888.

What can I do to help prevent sewer blockages or overflows?

  • Don’t plant trees over the sewer pipes as the roots can grow in and cause blockages
  • Don’t connect roof gutter pipes to the sewerage system
  • Only flush toilet paper down the toilet. Put other items in the garbage
  • Don’t put food scraps, oil or cooking fats down the sink. These can solidify when they cool and cause blockages. Wipe pans with paper towel and throw it in a bin instead
  • Don’t bury manholes/lamp holes or boundary risers under gardens, driveways or lawns

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Last Updated: May 13th, 2020
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