Being 24-hour emergency plumbers in Canberra, we receive numerous phone calls about blocked sewer drains and blocked stormwater drains. Panicked home owners asked us, “Who is responsible for pipes that are overflowing or backed up with stormwater or sewerage”? The answer is met by the following questions, “Where is the blockage leaking or overflowing from, when does it happen”? “Are you renting and could you have caused the blockage”?
Once we have established that, the answers are very simple. For example.
It is the responsibility of ICON water
- If sewerage is overflowing from the large round concrete manhole lids. These can be located on private property, in foot paths, in roadways, parks and nature strips.
- If sewerage is leaking out of the dwelling’s boundary access pipe / boundary shaft when no plumbing fixtures are being used inside the dwelling. These pipes and shafts are likely found near the boundary, at the lowest corner of the block.
- If sewerage is surcharging from a dwelling’s Over Flow Relief Gully (ORG) when no plumbing fixtures are being used inside the dwelling. The ORG is generally found up against the dwelling outside of a wet area.
- If it can be proven that a blockage originating in ICON’s sewerage network is causing a backup of sewer into the homeowners drains.
It is likely the responsibility of the property owner
- If sewerage is surcharging from a dwelling’s ORG or other access pipe when plumbing fixtures are being used inside the dwelling. The ORG is generally found up against the dwelling outside of a wet area.
- If the toilet or other drain backs up inside a dwelling when a toilet is flushed, or a plumbing fixture is in use.
- It can be proven that an illegal substance that originated from, an identifiable, homeowners drain caused a blockage in ICON’s sewerage network.
- When the cause of the overflow is a result of a blockage in the homeowner’s own sewerage and stormwater pipes.
It is likely the responsibility of TAMS
- If stormwater is overflowing from the large round concrete manhole lids marked with an SW. These can be located on private property, in foot paths, in roadways, parks and nature strips.
- If it can be proven that a blockage originating in the ACT Government’s (TAMS) stormwater network is causing a backup of water into the homeowners drains.
It is the responsibility of renters
- If one of the people living in or visiting the dwelling puts something into the drain that should not be put into drains. We often find this to be tampons, nappy wipes and kitty litter. Occasionally we find sticks, rocks and toys in drains.
ICON and TAMS offer reimbursements for any work done that identifies a blockage that originated in their networks. However, there can be many grey areas that eventually determine the responsibility for blocked drains. In many cases, the connection between the home owners drain and ICON’s or TAMS’ drain has to be excavated, while the drain is still blocked, to prove where responsibility lies.
It takes a professional with the right equipment to identify where the blockage is and the cause. TAMS and ICON will not reimburse home owners who try to do any work to expose the connection themselves.
If you have blocked drains in Canberra and you are not sure who is responsible, 6 Star Hot Water & Plumbing can help.
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