Stormwater drainage and household water systems

Maintaining household gutters and stormwater drains

Property owners must maintain the stormwater system from their house, garage and other structures to the kerb and gutter or other approved discharge point.

Regular maintenance and the removal of leaves are required to help prevent blockages and the deterioration of the stormwater drainage system.

Damaged and deteriorated stormwater drainage systems can result in the surface flow of stormwater over the property creating a nuisance or flooding.

Council Officers can investigate in circumstances where there is evidence that the surface water is the result of defective roof drainage from a dwelling or outbuilding, has been directed to and/or concentrated in a particular area by a man-made structure or drain and has caused or is likely to cause physical damage to land or building’s on the land.

What to do if there is a problem

The property owner needs to contact a plumber or other suitably licensed contractor to undertake repairs.stormwater

Maintenance of a property stormwater drainage system may include removing build-up of leaves and debris in gutters and drains, repairing holes in roof gutters and downpipes, removing blockages in pits and stormwater lines and repairing and replacing damaged sections of stormwater pipes.

Natural overland flow of rain water 

Rain water may run off areas like gardens and bushland because of factors such as the slope of the land, the volume of rain water and the ability of the soil to absorb rain water.  If required property owners are responsible for taking steps to protect their own property against the natural overland flow of rain water. Any diversion of natural overland flow must be carried out in a way that does not have detrimental impacts on other properties. A licensed plumber or other suitably qualified contractor should be engaged to carry out any works. 

Seepage water

Natural underground water is a common cause of seepage, particularly after periods of heavy rain. Seepage can often be seen where sloping blocks have been excavated to obtain a flat yard or on a building site. It is a property owner’s responsibility to protect their own property which can be done by installing subsoil drainage. Subsoil drains are intended for the drainage of ground water or seepage from the subgrade and/or the subbase in excavations. Advice should be sought from a qualified civil/hydraulic engineer and a licensed plumber or other suitably qualified contractor should be engaged to carry out any works if required. 

Private inter-allotment drainage easement infrastructure

Private inter-allotment drainage easements and their maintenance are the responsibility of the respective beneficiaries of the drainage easement. There can be many properties burdened and benefitted by a private inter-allotment drainage easement and the on-going maintenance and any necessary repairs needs to be co-ordinated between all of the responsible property owners.

The legal documents associated with such easements is generally provided with the title documents associated with the purchase of a property however they can also be obtained from the NSW Land Registry Service.

Further information

Factsheet – Stormwater Issues on Private Property (pdf. 120KB) contains further information about how to talk to your neighbours about stormwater and when Council may take action.

To report a concern regarding surface water overflow from defective roof drainage from a dwelling contact us. 

For emergency help in flood events, contact the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.

Greywater systems

Greywater is wastewater from washing machines, showers and laundry sinks which can be used for irrigation, toilet flushing and washing machines. It cannot be used for drinking water, watering vegetables or topping up rainwater tanks or swimming pools, and cannot be sourced from kitchen sinks or toilets.

Greywater can be reused through manual bucketing, diversion or treatment. Council approval is required for greywater treatment systems.Rainwater diagram.jpg

Download the Application for Waste Treatment Plant (pdf. 225KB) to apply to install, construct or alter your greywater treatment system.

Water for Life – Guidelines for Greywater (pdf. 1MB)

NSW Health – Accredited Greywater Systems

Rainwater tanks

In most cases Council approval is not required for rainwater tanks if they meet the criteria listed under Subdivisions 32 and 33 in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007.

More information on rainwater tanks and potential rebates can be found here

Sewage systems

If you live in a house that’s not connected to the main Sydney Water sewage system you’ll need to install the best system possible to dispose of your wastewater. Council approval is required for all on-site sewage systems such as septic tanks to prevent the spread of disease, contamination and odour. 

For houses with existing connections to the urban sewerage system, property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the private water and sewerage 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. More information on the responsibilities of connected customers can be found on the Sydney Water website.

If you notice a waste water leak in a public space such as on a road, park or footpath, please report this immediately to Sydney Water on their webpage or on 13 20 90

Download the Application for Waste Treatment Plant (pdf. 225KB) to apply to install, construct or alter your sewage system.

Easy Septic Guide (pdf. 987KB)

Septic Safe – Environment and Health Guidelines for On-site Sewage Management

NSW Health – Wastewater and Sewage