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Sewer Blockages

In the event your property experiences a blocked sewer contact Shoalhaven Water immediately. This is generally first noticed by drains or toilets not clearing quickly or by an overflow in the yard gully.

Yard gully in garden A typical yard gully found in Shoalhaven homes.

Shoalhaven Water will investigate as the problem might be in our sewer lines. If the problem is not in the mains we will advise the property owner to contact a plumber. Shoalhaven Water will not charge the property owner for our investigation of the problem but the owner will need to pay their plumber for any work in the property to clear the line.

Sewerage Access Points around your Home

If your home or business is connected to sewer chances are you will have a Boundary Riser and a Yard Gully located on your property. These two access points are important in the event of a sewer blockage. It is important to know where these points are located.

Boundary Risers are located close to the property boundary and sewer main and in the event of a blockage should be located and inspected by the owner of the property before contacting Shoalhaven Water or a plumber.

Yard Gully’s (sometimes known as an Overflow Relief Gully) are drain-like in appearance and located outside your house. They act to release sewage in the event of a blockage and are designed so that the loose fitting grate be free to ‘pop off’ completely allowing the sewerage flow that has backed up in the pipes to escape through the Yard Gully outside, rather than inside of your home or business.

The property owner is responsible to maintain or repair all the pipes within their property.

Blockages

Signs of sewer blockage might include:

  • 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
  • Sewer access pits overflow
  • Gurgling noises occur in sanitary drains

Causes of a sewer blockage include:

  • Rubbish, children’s toys, tennis balls, nappies, clothing, sanitary pads/tampons, cooking waste, sand, and other wastes not suitable for flushing into the sewer system
  • Tree roots infiltrating the property pipes
  • Crushed or flattened pipes that have been damaged
  • Pipes that have been laid poorly

What a property owner should do to prevent sewer overflow?

  • 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. Instead wipe pans with a paper towel and throw it in the bin.
  • Don’t bury sewer access pits (manholes) under gardens, driveways or lawns.
  • Don’t plant trees over the sewer pipes as the roots get in and cause blockages.

It is illegal to direct stormwater downpipes into the sewerage system. A rapid influx of water during a storm event may cause an overflow in your local environment or worse case, into your home.