Blocked sewers

Under our Clearing Blocked Private Sewer Pipes Policy, which came into effect on 1 August 2012, Unitywater has moved to clarify who is responsible for repairs when blockages are found in private sewer pipes.

Your sewer might be blocked if:

  • toilets, basins, baths or tubs are slower than normal to empty;
  • toilets overflow or fill higher than usual;
  • traps in the yard overflow when the toilet is flushed, when basins or baths are released.

If you suspect a blockage, call a licensed plumber first for an assessment of the problem. Calling a plumber first will provide you with an accurate assessment and could save you time and inconvenience.

If the plumber finds that the blockage is located within the Unitywater infrastructure, the plumber should immediately contact Unitywater’s Customer Service team on 1300 0 UNITY (1300 086 489).

When is Unitywater responsible for fixing blockages or drainage problems?

Unitywater is responsible for maintaining its own infrastructure, up to and including the property inspection opening for each private property.

When is the property owner responsible?

The property owner is responsible for maintaining the private drain from the house or building, up to but excluding the property inspection opening. If a blockage occurs within the private drain, the property owner is responsible for the cost of repairs.

How to avoid blocked sewer pipes

You can avoid blockages and protect the environment by thinking at the sink and following a few simple guidelines.

What should a private plumber do if they identify a problem within Unitywater infrastructure?

Private plumbers may inspect Unitywater infrastructure but must not perform any work on it. If they identify a blockage within Unitywater infrastructure they should call 1300 0 UNITY (1300 086 489) immediately and our staff will respond to the issue.

Will private plumbers be paid for identifying blockages within Unitywater infrastructure?

Under the Clearing Blocked Private Sewer Pipes Policy, private plumbers can claim up to the maximum published amount of $250 (inc GST) when they have identified a blockage within Unitywater infrastructure, notified Unitywater, not attempted to clear the blockage within Unitywater infrastructure and submitted a valid Plumbers Blocked Sewer Identificiation Fee claim form (PDF) and detailed invoice to PBI@unitywater.com.

Unitywater customers cannot claim reimbursement for private plumbing investigations done on Unitywater infrastructure, so it's important that plumbers communicate directly with Unitywater in such instances.

Unitywater's aim is to ensure both the customer and plumber don't incur unnecessary costs fixing blocked sewers if the problem is our responsibility.

Will Unitywater crews clear private house drains?

If Unitywater is on site and finds a house drain blockage, Unitywater services may be offered to clear the blockage in accordance with published fees.

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