Tips to keep your drains flowing

Follow our tips to keep your home safe. These simple precautions will help prevent blockages in your private drainage, which could cause sewage to overflow and potentially damage your home.

Check your stormwater pipes

When stormwater enters the sewerage network, sewer pipes (which on average are much smaller in diameter than stormwater pipes) can become overloaded, potentially causing sewage to back-up during heavy rain.

  • Make sure stormwater pipes from your roof, driveway or patio are not connected to the sewerage network.
  • If you think your stormwater pipes are connected to the sewerage network, have them inspected by a licensed plumber.

Look after your household pipes

Putting the wrong things down sinks, pipes and toilets can leave homeowners with an expensive plumbing bill to unblock pipes. It can also lead to sewage overflows and problems in other parts of the sewerage network. 

  • Use sink strainers and avoid pouring fats or oils down household pipes or the toilet.
  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Wet wipes and other sanitary items should never be flushed.
  • Consider using biodegradable detergents and cleaners as they're less likely to clog pipes. Detergent build-up encourages odour and bacteria growth, which can block drains. 

For more household tips, watch the video below or check out the following pages:

Check your overflow relief gully (ORG)

An overflow relief gully (ORG) is a grated outlet located in the ground outside your home, usually near the laundry. It's designed to act as a release valve in the event of a blockage or if there's excess rainwater in the sewerage network. 

  • Make sure stormwater in your yard does not build up and flood your ORG.
  • Ensure your ORG sits at least 75mm above ground level to avoid collecting stormwater during heavy rain.
  • Check your ORG is not covered by landscaping, garden beds, pot plants or other items. 

Find out more about overflow relief gullies.

Think before planting trees and shrubs

Tree roots enter pipes through tiny fractures or small gaps in search of water. Once inside they grow, damage pipes and cause blockages.

  • Avoid planting near freshly laid pipes as the roots are attracted to softer soil.
  • Invest in a root barrier – available from hardware stores and nurseries, root barriers are made from heavy cloth or plastic and are placed in the ground to contain a plant’s root system.
  • Dial Before you Dig (1100) so you know where sewer pipes and other utilities are located.
  • Ask your local nursery to recommend plants with non-invasive roots.