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Sewerage and recycled water

Your sewage is piped to one of the city's four sewage treatment plants and treated to a high grade recycled water which can be used for non-drinking purposes.

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Protecting your home from a sewage blockage and overflow

Did you know more than 145 million litres of sewage is produced across our city each day? Most of us don't give a second thought to the pipes on our property, but we should if we don't want sewage flowing through our homes!

Sewerage systems are designed to transport sewage from residential, commercial and industrial areas. Our system can become overloaded or blocked for a number of reasons such as wet wipes, tree roots, fats, oils and foreign matter. This can lead to a sewage blockage and cause overflows that can be costly to clean up and cause environmental harm to our creeks and waterways.

You can protect your home by being aware of what can and cannot go down your sink or toilets.

Select from the drop-down headings below to find out more.

Think at the sink

If you wash oils and food scraps down the sink you run the risk of this foreign matter sticking together and causing a blockage within the pipes of your home, requiring repairs by a qualified plumber. Think at the sink.

By taking care of how you dispose of waste items, you can limit unnecessary damage to the sewerage system and the environment.

The table below provides detailed information on problem items and the correct disposal method.

Problem items Disposal method
Nappies, razors, rags, wipes, cotton buds Place in the garbage collection bin.
Cooking oil/grease Residential - place in sealed container and put in the rubbish bin or take to one of the City's waste transfer stations. Commercial - take to your local City waste transfer station.
Chemicals (such as paint, cleaning products, pesticides, weed killers) Give to a licensed hazardous waste contractor for proper disposal or contact the City on 1300 000 928 for advice.
Food waste Install a sink strainer, place in compost bin or feed to chickens or worm farms if you have them. Otherwise place in the rubbish bin.
Newspaper/plastics Put in the recycling bin ready for collection.
Unused medicines Return to your local chemist.
Engine oils Put in a plastic container and take to your local waste and recycling centre.

If you suspect there is a sewer blockage, call a qualified plumber to have the blockage cleared.

Hazardous waste drop off points

Residents can drop off household hazardous waste such as bleach, oven cleaners, mineral turpentine, fuel, herbicides, pool chlorine and paints to the Helensvale and Merrimac community waste and recycling centres throughout the year. Visit our Recycling household hazardous waste page for information about the recycling or treatment of household hazardous wastes.

Don't block your pipes, bin those wipes

Did you know that 'flushable wipes' do not break down in the sewerage system? They may flush away from view but are not bio-degradable like toilet paper. Wipes clump together and cause significant blockages, which may result in a sewage overflow in your neighbourhood and possibly cause damage to pumps. If this happens your suburb's sewerage system needs to be shut down for repairs.

Regardless of what the packaging says, please always bin your wipes.

Hot tip - locate your Overflow Relief Gully

Know where your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG) is located on your property. The ORG is the drain-like feature with a grated lid that can be found in the ground outside your home.

Check the grate is loosely fitted and that no pot plant, tiling or paving is covering it. The ORG will direct sewage overflows outside your home if a blockage occurs.

For further information see our Overflow Relief Gully fact sheet.

What do I do if my property sewer pipes are blocked?

If your property sewer pipes are blocked, the problem could be either in the property’s private sewer pipes or in the City’s receiving sewer pipes.

In the first instance you should engage a qualified plumber to identify the location and cause of the blocked sewer.

The City is responsible for repairing and maintaining all sewer pipes up to and including the first property inspection outlet (IO) inside the property boundary. Please note, this is typically located 1.5 metres below ground level. This does not include the inspection shaft, which should be connected vertically above or upstream from the City IO. 

The property owner is responsible for maintaining and repairing all the sewer pipes and fittings connected to the first property inspection outlet (City IO) inside the property boundary. Any pipes and fittings on the property owner’s side of the City IO, including the inspection shaft, are the responsibility of the property owner and include:

  • repairing or replacing broken or cracked pipes
  • keep inspection points clear
  • ensure stormwater is not connected to the sewerage system
  • keep maintenance holes clear
  • costs associated with maintaining these pipes and fittings.

If the plumber identifies the blockage is in the City’s sewer pipes, then they must contact our Customer Contact Centre on 1300 000 928 and follow due process so they may be paid for their services by the City. For further information please see Guidelines for plumbers seeking payment factsheet.

Related information

Jump to key information
  • How do I know if there is a blockage in my sewer system?

    A blockage will cause problems such as slow draining in the sinks and showers, the toilet may be holding water, or an overflow may be occurring from your floor waste or external plumbing fitting.

  • How do I know if the sewer blockage is my responsibility?

    A licensed plumber will be able to determine if the sewer blockage is the responsibility of the property owner.

  • How do I clear the blockage?

    Contact a licensed plumber to clear the blockage affecting your residence.

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