Community responds to calls to reduce stormwater in the sewer

Published on 14 May 2024

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The volume of stormwater entering MidCoast Council’s sewerage system has dropped considerably thanks to a positive response from homeowners.

Stormwater entering the sewer through private properties has long been an issue during wet weather, with the excess water putting the system under strain and at times causing sewage to overflow into the environment.

However, a noticeable reduction has occurred as a result of residents fixing defects on their properties.

Council’s Executive Manager of Water and Systems, Marnie Coates, praised the response from homeowners to help address this important issue.

“Over the last few years our Inflow and Infiltration Reduction team has been working to identify defects on private properties where stormwater is getting into our system, whether through unauthorised plumbing connections, poorly designed landscaping or broken or missing sewer shaft caps,” said Ms Coates.

“We’ve been really impressed with the effort from the community to rectify these defects, with close to 90 per cent of homeowners who’ve been notified about an issue proactively taking steps to fix them.”

Ms Coates said the work was ongoing and the team would continue to look for defects that allowed stormwater to enter the sewer, both on private properties and in Council’s network. She hoped homeowners would continue to play their part in reducing the issue.

“It’s important we continue to reduce stormwater in the sewer because the system isn’t designed to handle such large volumes. Not only does it pose potential health and environmental risks, it increases the amount of resources we’re having to use at our sewage treatment plants, which is already a resource-intensive part of our operations,” she said.

Residents will be notified via mail before any inspections occur in their neighbourhood.

Ms Coates urged people not to be alarmed if they saw Council staff conducting these inspections.

“Our team uses a number of methods to identify where stormwater is getting in, including smoke testing, dye testing, visual property inspections and CCTV sewer inspections,” said Ms Coates.

“It’s important people understand that a non-toxic gas is used for the smoke testing and we notify the fire service before we complete the work.

“However, if you do have any concerns, feel free to give us a call on (02) 7955 7777.”

To find out more about how you can help reduce stormwater in the sewer system, visit