Sewer pipes are only designed to remove sewage, toilet tissue and wastewater from kitchen, bathroom and laundry drains. Blockages and overflows are typically caused by:

  • fats or solids being washed down household pipes.  
  • wet wipes and other hygiene or sanitary products being flushed down toilets.
  • tree roots entering and growing inside pipes.
  • stormwater entering and overloading the sewerage network. 

Find out what you can do around your house to help prevent blockages and overflows.

Sewerage or drainage issues usually fall into two categories:

Dry weather overflows or blockages. Slow-draining sinks, toilets or showers, or a sewage overflow that occurs in dry weather could be a sign of a blockage in your pipes, or ours.

Wet weather overflows. Stormwater and sewerage networks are separate systems, designed differently to meet different needs. On average, sewer pipes are much smaller in diameter than stormwater pipes. Sometimes rainwater can overwhelm the stormwater network and spill over into the sewer system, which causes sewage to back up and may lead to overflows. 

If you see wastewater coming out of a sewer maintenance hole on or near your property, please call us on 13 23 64 (24/7).

Please contact us immediately on 13 23 64 (24/7) if any of the following applies:

  • If your property has been flooded by public sewage
  • If multiple properties are experiencing sewer issues
  • If there is a confirmed blockage in our pipes
  • If you can safely locate your inspection opening (IO) or overflow relief gully (ORG) and find the infrastructure is holding liquid or overflowing

If you are experiencing a sewage overflow or you suspect there may be a blockage in your property, please do not attempt to clear it yourself. To obtain clearance, you can:

  • Call a licensed plumber. For a referral, call the Master Plumbers' Association of Queensland on 07 3273 0800 (8am-5pm weekdays).
  • Request that we clear it for you for a fee (service available in Brisbane and Ipswich only). You can make the request via our webform or call us on 13 23 64 (24/7).

Please note: Any cost associated with engaging a private plumber is the responsibility of the property owner/manager and not Urban Utilities.

Read more about steps you can take if your property has been damaged.

Property owners own and are responsible for the installation, repair, maintenance and replacement of all the private fittings, mains connected water tanks and pipes on their property up to the water meter and sewer connection point. If a leak or blockage is detected in these pipes, it is the property owner’s responsibility to fix it. We recommend the property owner contacts a plumber to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

Urban Utilities is responsible for the water and sewer services up to your water meter and sewer property connection point (leading away from the property). Urban Utilities’ crew will attend to issues located in our infrastructure. Please contact our Faults and Emergencies line on 13 23 64 (available 24/7) if you discover a problem with our pipes.

Your local council is responsible for the stormwater network that extends beyond your property boundary line.

For information on how you can protect your household plumbing from blockages, take a look at our household tips.

It is an offence, to which penalties apply, for a contractor or plumber to carry out works within or near Urban Utilities' assets without obtaining a Network Access Permit and agreeing to our terms and conditions.

Read more about Network permits here.

If the blockage occurred in a part of the sewer network that you are responsible for, you'll need to pay the plumbing costs. If it occurred in our side of the network, you may submit a claim for consideration for reasonable costs incurred.

If you engaged a plumber, you will need to pay the invoice regardless of whether the failure is in your pipes or Urban Utilities’ network prior to submitting a claim. Any cost associated with exploratory work, excavation, clean up, property restoration, and / or other associated contractor works undertaken at your property without prior approval from Urban Utilities is also the responsibility of the homeowner. Urban Utilities will not pay private contractors directly for any unpaid invoices. 

Each claim is assessed based on its own merits and subject to a full liability investigation. You will be notified of the outcome in writing once investigation has been finalised.

Please note that Urban Utilities will not reimburse plumbing or contractor invoices associated with private plumbing or unauthorised works undertaken within our infrastructure.

To lodge a claim for consideration with Urban Utilities, you will need to provide the following information in writing:

  • Name, postal address and contact information
  • Property address where the alleged incident occurred
  • Copy of paid plumbing / contractor invoice (outlining hours on site and the works carried out at your property)
  • Reason why you believe Urban Utilities should consider the fees
  • Details of the incident

Please send the above information via e-mail to or via post:

Urban Utilities

Attention: Insurance

GPO Box 2765

Brisbane QLD 4001

*A plumber is unable to make this application on behalf of a customer

If you would like further information, please call us on 13 26 57.

All enquiries may be subject to Legal Privilege. All personal information is collected for Urban Utilities insurance purposes only, and may be disclosed to third parties under certain circumstances relating solely to your insurance enquiry or claim. Please refer to Urban Utilities’ Privacy Policy for more details.

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