What causes blockages and overflows?
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 or download our brochure on Sewer 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.
What should I do if there's a blockage or overflow?
If your property has been flooded by our public sewer or if the blockage is in our pipes, please call us immediately on 13 23 64 (24/7). We will send a crew to assist.
If the issue is on your property and you suspect there may be a blockage, please do not attempt to clear it yourself. To clear the blockage you could:
- Request that we clear it for you for a fee (service available in Brisbane and Ipswich only). Please call us on 13 23 64 (24/7) and lodge a blockage removal request.
- Call a licensed plumber. For a referral, call the Master Plumbers' Association of Queensland on 07 3273 0800 (8am-5pm weekdays).
Read more about steps you can take if your property has been damaged.
Who is responsible?
are responsible for the maintenance of the private water and sewer pipes on their properties up to the connection point. In the event of a blockage or overflow at your property, you should contact a licensed plumber.
Urban Utilities maintains and operates the water and sewerage services from the network up to the property connection point. Our crews will attend to issues in our part of the network. Please call 13 23 64 (24/7) if you suspect there's been an overflow in your street.
Find out more about responsibilities.
Signs the issue may be in your property's pipes
It may be the property owner’s responsibility if:
- your neighbours are not experiencing the blockage
- your drainage is not shared with other properties
- there is no flooding in your local area.
Signs the issue may be in our pipes
It may be our responsibility if we have sewers in the area and one of the following applies:
- The problem is visible outside your property boundary (e.g. beyond your water meter).
- Your neighbour(s) are experiencing the same problem.
- There is widespread flooding in your local area.