Sewer protection - outside your home

Stamp out sewer inflow

If the rain that falls on your place is going into the sewer, it's a waste of precious, pure, clean water!

It means that the rain water is mixed with dirty water (from your toilet, kitchen sink and washing machine) and it's wasted - going to the sewerage treatment plant.

During storms, up to 35 times more water enters our sewers. This places extra pressure on our mains and pumps, adding large costs to our maintenance bills. Sometimes, in heavy rain and flood situations, our pumps can't cope with the volumes - and then we have sewage overflows. Yuck!

Although it's illegal to connect storm water to the sewer system, for a number of reasons, it can happen, often accidentally. We want to work with you to help you make sure your connection is legal and safe for the environment.

Fact Sheet: What is sewer inflow?(PDF, 778KB)

It's simple to fix!

You can check your place to make sure your rain water goes to the storm water system and not your sewer pipes. Download the home checklist(PDF, 1MB) tool.

If you like, you can also build a 'rain garden' at your place - these use special plants to take the run-off of rain water from hard surfaces, like your driveway, and filter the impurities before the water ends up in our waterways.

What we do to fix sewer inflow

We undertake inspection of the sewerage system to identify where rain water is entering the sewer. Some of our methods include:

  • closed circuit television (CCTV) - a remote controlled camera can undertake detailed and accurate inspection of sewerage pipes to identify defects;
  • dye testing - a non-toxic bright coloured dye is pumped into the sewerage system to confirm existence of defects;
  • smoke testing - we inject a harmless gas (mostly water vapour) into the sewerage system and watch for the points where it exits - identifying improper connections to the sewerage system;
  • visual property inspections - authorised council employees may enter your property and perform an inspection of visible areas of your wastewater system (overflow relief gullies, downpipe connections and manholes).

What you can do to stamp out sewer inflow

It's important to ensure your home is free of plumbing defects that can cause sewer inflow because:

  • wastewater (sewage) could overflow into your home
  • rainwater might be entering the sewer network - causing potential overflows of sewerage into yards, streets and our waterways
  • it's illegal! Fines can apply, but not if you make every effort to fix the problem.

Use this handy checklist / action plan to ensure you are saving your rain - and stamping out sewer inflow!

Downloadable Fact Sheet – Home checklist(PDF, 1MB)

Want to do even more to save the rain at your place?

Once you've ensured the rain that falls at your place is not going into the sewerage network, you can go even further to incorporate some water sensitive design principles into your home and garden. 

Hints and tips to make the most of the rain that falls at your place:

  • Rainwater tanks - collecting the rain from your roof can give you a valuable source of water for your garden.
  • Raingardens - building a special raingarden at the right point on your property can prevent the rain water draining off into the street untreated. Here's how it works - special plants can remove excess nutrients and pollutants from rain water (picked up as the water moves off hard surfaces like your roof, concrete paths etc) and slow down the fast flow of water into stormwater drains.

Read more on our website here about water sensitive urban design: Applying water sensitive urban design principles.

Download handy fact sheets below on how to build and maintain a raingarden:


Current investigation projects

Taree area - Monday 12 April to Friday 16 April:

  • Spence Street
  • Flett Street
  • Short Street
  • Smith Street
  • Cornwall Street
  • Commerce Lane
  • High Street