Get it right at the pipe

Fitzroy River Water maintains the sewerage system throughout the Rockhampton Region. The sewerage system is connected to each property to transport sewage and domestic wastewater from each home to the sewage treatment plants via private house drains, sewer mains and pumping stations.

During heavy rainfall the sewerage system can become overloaded by the inflow or infiltration of stormwater. Inflow occurs when rainwater enters the sewerage system via defective, illegal or inappropriate plumbing. Infiltration is when ground water enters the network via cracks and leaks in underground infrastructure.

What is an illegal connection?

An illegal connection refers to a stormwater down pipe or overflow relief gully that directs stormwater into the sewerage system.

It is illegal to:

  • Direct stormwater into an overflow relief gully
  • Direct a rainwater tank overflow into an overflow relief gully
  • Direct rainwater runoff from paving or landscaping into an overflow relief gully and
  • Connect stormwater drains to the sewerage system. 

Stormwater downpipes should discharge rainwater to the ground or the street and overflow relief gullies must be above ground level to prevent stormwater entering into the sewerage system. 

How do I get it right at the pipe?

All property owners are responsible for checking and maintaining their stormwater connections.

To get it right at the pipe you should:

  • Check all downpipes to ensure stormwater is discharged to the ground or the street
  • Inspect the area around the overflow relief gully to ensure stormwater can flow away
  • Ensure the overflow relief gully is free from obstruction to allow it to work effectively as an external overflow relief point.

If you are concerned about your stormwater connection you should contact a licensed plumber so they can get it right at the pipe for you!

Stormwater drains being connected to a legal point of discharge should be carried out by a licensed drainer who will ensure that the work meets the AS 3500 standards.

What happens if I get it wrong at the pipe?

The sewerage system is not designed to cope with or carry run off from rainfall. If you get it wrong at the pipe and stormwater enters the sewerage system you could expect to see:

  • Localised flooding caused by sewage surcharges
  • Sewage to overflow into waterways, which can lead to environmental harm and risks to public health
  • Increased pumping and treatment costs
  • A reduction in the amount of sewage that can be transported throughout the sewer network resulting in unnecessary upgrade costs
  • Adverse effects to treated sewage effluent quality through the failure of treatment plant processes.