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Sewerage and recycled water

Your sewage is piped to one of the city's four sewage treatment plants and treated to a high grade recycled water which can be used for non-drinking purposes.

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Help to protect your home against sewer overflows

Every time it rains, our sewerage network is under threat from sewage overflows caused by incorrect stormwater connections.

Stormwater is rainwater that runs off surfaces such as lawns, roads, roofs, carparks and natural ground surfaces.

Know your water types and send it down the right pipes

Stormwater and sewage do not mix! Did you know that it is illegal to direct stormwater into the sewerage network? Section 193 of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 and section 78 of the Local Government Act 2009 state that the discharge of stormwater into the sewerage network is prohibited. 

Our sewerage network is designed and operated to carry five times the normal flow. Excessive stormwater inflow that exceeds the capacity of the network puts sewerage pipes and pumps under immense pressure.

With nowhere else to go, sewage can back up and overflow from controlled spill points or less frequently, from maintenance holes or private property.into the sewerage system via your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG). The ORG is the drain-like feature with a grated lid that can be found in the ground outside your home.

Due to its appearance it can be mistaken to be a drain. House renovations and landscaping activities can lead to stormwater being incorrectly connected or directed to the ORG.

By detecting and fixing any points on your property where stormwater may enter the sewer such as a low-lying ORG or damaged inspection opening (IO), you will be doing your part to protect your property, neighbourhood and the environment against wet weather sewage overflows.

Stormwater pipes connected to the sewer

All your stormwater must flow to either a rainwater tank, the road kerb or a stormwater pit. Occasionally, it may have be plumbed directly to the underground stormwater system where the discharge cannot be seen. This may be the case when the street is higher than your house and there is no grated stormwater pit in your backyard.

If the downpipe from your roof is located near your sewerage pipe such as ORG and IO, or appears to drain into it, an illegal connection may exist.

If you think your stormwater pipes are connected to the sewerage system, please have them inspected and fixed by a licensed plumber.

Swimming pools connected to the sewer

Refrain from discharging your pool water to the sewer directly after a rain event. Check where possible that where it is connected, only swimming pool backwash water enters the sewer. Some pools have a valve that can be set to divert backwash water to the sewer and overflow water to the stormwater system.

Your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG)

Your ORG is an important part of the sewerage system that directs sewage overflows outside your home, rather than inside your home.

It is not a stormwater drain. Your ORG should have a loose, grated lid and can be found on the ground outside your home. It is connected to the main sewerage drain to stop sewage entering the house when an overflow occurs.

If your ORG is susceptible to having stormwater drain into it due to it being in a low-lying area, this may mean that it’s not compliant. This can be fixed by having a licenced plumber install an ORG ‘cap’ or by improving the surrounding or the landscape.

The Stormwater Inflow fact sheet can help you determine whether or not an incorrect stormwater connection exists on your property.

Inflow Mitigation Program

We are undertaking a Rain-Dependent Inflow Management Pilot to determine suitable methods of investigation and remediation of stormwater inflow points. We will inspect private sewerage plumbing in selected areas to identify any stormwater inflow points into the sewerage network.

Selected areas of Nerang, Pimpama, Burleigh Heads, Elanora and Helensvale will be investigated. These areas suffer from excessive stormwater inflow and/or repeated wet weather sewage overflows that pose elevated risks to public health and the environment.

Within the selected areas, we will undertake an Approved Inspection Program that allows authorised persons to enter and inspect properties to ensure compliance with legislation. The purpose of this program is to improve the level of compliance of private sewerage plumbing to reduce excessive stormwater inflow and mitigate wet weather sewage overflows.

The program will run from 26 October 2020 to 31 November 2020.

Regional Australian Infiltration Network (R.A.I.N.) is contracted by the City to carry out visual inspections of private sewerage plumbing to identify stormwater inflow points, such as:

  • incorrect stormwater connections to the sewerage network
  • defective/low-lying overflow relief gullies (ORG)
  • inspection openings (IO) with defective/missing lids
  • landscaped areas that allow ponding of water over a sewer ORG or IO plumbing

Download the Approved inspection program for private sewerage plumbing Council resolution, or request a copy from one our Nerang Customer Service Centre.

Managing wastewater is a partnership

We inspect, maintain and repair City-owned sewers. As the property owner, you are responsible for ensuring that stormwater and sewerage pipes within your property boundary are compliant.

Any faults with your property sewer may seem minor, but the combined volume of stormwater into the sewerage network is significant. If everyone does their part to repair any faults on their property, we can reduce the amount of stormwater inflow and protect our homes and waterways from potential sewage overflows.

Related information

Jump to key information
  • Where can rain water or pool overflow enter the sewer?

    Rain water or pool overflow can enter the sewer via the ORG, excess pool water being discharged to the sewer instead of the stormwater system, or from pipes illegally connected to the sewer or your ORG.

  • How do I check if I have a compliant ORG?

    • Visually inspect your ORG, there should only be one of them and it should be close to the external wall of your house.
    • Ensure there is no landscaping, paving or items (i.e. pot plant) obstructing the ORG.
    • The ORG should sit 75 millimetres above ground level and 150 millimetres below the lowest plumbing fixture inside your home.
    • Have a licensed plumber raise the ORG in accordance with plumbing regulations or install an overflow relief cap.
  • How do I check if I have a compliant swimming pool connection?

    • Confirm  your backwash cycle is about five minutes.
    • Check that only backwash water enters the sewer.
    • Direct overflow/excess pool water to stormwater.
    • Only filter backwash should discharge to sewer.
    • No pool water should be discharged to the sewer within six hours after a rain event.
  • How do I check if my stormwater pipes are compliant?

    • Hose water into each of your downpipes and ground level drainage points (in isolation) and check that each one discharges to a stormwater outlet.
    • If you have a rainwater tank, overflows must go to the stormwater system.
    • All stormwater must flow to a rainwater tank, road kerb or grated stormwater pit.
    • Stormwater should never flow into the sewerage system.

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