Sewer blockages

Signs of sewer blockage

  • Your toilet isn’t flushing properly or is overflowing
  • Slow drainage in your sinks, shower or bath
  • Gurgling noises from your toilet or floor drains
  • The inspection opening (IO) or overflow relief gully (ORG) on your property is overflowing.

What to do if you think you have a sewer blockage

If you think you have a sewer blockage on your property, please complete the following sewer block investigation checklist.

Sewer block investigation checklist

Responsibility for sewer maintenance

An image showing typical household sewer connections

The point where private plumbing joins plumbing managed by City of Gold Coast is known as the connection point. There is a fitting on the pipework at this point (see the Property Connection Fitting in the diagram above).

We are responsible for the maintenance of sewer pipes from the sewer main to the connection point, or one metre inside a property boundary if the connection point cannot be found.

The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of sewer drains and any inspection openings on the property side of the property connection fitting. Inspection openings are there for your protection and are a legal requirement in Queensland under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

If you have an older house and do not have an inspection opening located near the sewer connection point, you do not have to install one. However, if you have a blockage that needs to be investigated, you may end up paying more for this work because you don’t have easy access to an inspection opening.

Reimbursement for reasonable costs

We will reimburse reasonable costs incurred by the plumber who attended your property and found that the blockage at your property was caused by a defect in our sewer mains, as long as the plumber or you reports the blockage to us immediately, and providing work was not undertaken by the plumber that was excessive or was your responsibility. The amount we reimburse is limited and additional costs from the plumber may have to be paid by you, especially if your plumbing is not up to current day standards.

If a plumber uses CCTV and other equipment to check your private drain and determines a blockage is located in the City’s sewer main, you may be eligible for a reimbursement for some of the costs of the plumber’s work. Typically, this is only one hour labour and ¼ hour combined CCTV/jet-rodding. The amount is capped at $300 including GST unless exceptional circumstances apply (evidence required).

Plumbers should apply for payment directly to City of Gold Coast instead of invoicing property owners.

We will not reimburse costs for any of the following circumstances:

  • a sewer blockage that was not reported on the same day as it was discovered
  • repeat visits to your property by a plumber
  • work undertaken on your private sewer
  • excessive investigation work required due to the private sewer drainage not meeting the requirements of the Plumbing Code of Australia
  • excavation work
  • additional time and costs resulting from inexperience, errors, faulty equipment or similar. It is expected that plumbers have the appropriate expertise and equipment to undertake the investigations required in a timely manner.
  • blockages caused by the disposal of inappropriate materials such as wet wipes, toys, or other materials that do not easily breakdown in the sewer system
  • exposing or installing an inspection shaft and cap.

Reimbursement process

Plumbers must call 1300 000 928 to report a blocked sewer before submitting a reimbursement application. A notification reference number and form will be provided at the time of the call.

We will assess your application and advise you within 10 business days by email or letter if your reimbursement has been approved.

If your application is approved, payment will be made to your nominated account.

Plumbers reimbursement application form