Sewer Blocks

What happens if a customer experiences a sewer blockage?

Please note that reference to an inspection shaft below refers to an inspection shaft installed:

  • within one metre inside the property boundary (where the sewer main is located outside of the property boundary); or
  • within one metre of the sewer main (where the sewer main is located within the property boundary).

Full details and a summary diagram of sewer maintenance responsibilities are available in Wannon Water’s Customer Charter.

Situation   What happens?
There is no inspection shaft installed on the sewer connection drain.
  • Wannon Water is responsible for maintenance of the first metre of sewer connection drain.
  • If the location of the sewer block is not able to be determined due to there not being an inspection shaft, Wannon Water will work with the property owner or their plumber to identify the location of the blockage.
    • Wannon Water is responsible for the cost of clearing sewer blocks located in the first metre of sewer connection drain.
    • The customer is responsible for the cost of clearing sewer blocks located beyond the first meter of sewer connection drain in the customer’s property.
  • Note: Wannon Water may choose to install an inspection shaft where it will assist Wannon Water with future maintenance of the sewer connection drain. This is recommended if excavation has occurred on the sewer connection drain. 
Sewer block is located on the customer’s side (upstream) of the inspection shaft.
  • The property owner is responsible for clearing the blockage.
  • Plumber will clear the blockage and bill the customer. 
Sewer block is located on Wannon Water’s side (downstream) of the inspection shaft.
  • Wannon Water is responsible for clearing the sewer block.
  • Plumber advises Wannon Water and bills Wannon Water for a spotter’s fee (see below).  Wannon Water reimburses property owner for reasonable costs (see below) charged by the plumber to locate the sewer block.
  • Wannon Water attends on site to clear the sewer block at no cost to the property owner. Wannon Water may choose to engage the plumber on site to clear the sewer block at Wannon Water’s cost.
Additional notes
  • Where the sewer main is located outside the property boundary and the building line is located at or near the property boundary, Wannon Water’s maintenance responsibility stops one metre outside the building line.
  • It is not always possible to install an inspection shaft within one metre of the sewer main or property boundary due to OHS risks, structures, walls or stormwater pipes/drains.
  • The inspection shaft will often be more than one metre from the sewer main or property boundary. Where this is the case, Wannon Water will consider maintaining the sewer connection drain beyond one metre from the sewer main or property boundary.
  • For common sewer connection drains Wannon Water is responsible for sewer blocks up to one metre into the first property that shares the sewer connection drain.
  • For shared or spurred property branches, Wannon Water is responsible for sewer blocks up to one metre into each property sharing the sewer connection drain.

Summary of sewer maintenance responsibilities

 Sewer maintenance responsibilities

“Spotter’s fee”

Where a plumber attends site and determines that the blockage is Wannon Water’s responsibility, a spotter’s fee of $70, including GST, will be paid to the plumber for immediately reporting the blockage to Wannon Water. The following information must be included on the invoice before it will be paid by Wannon Water:

  • Date, time and address of blockage; and
  • Wannon Water job number provided to you when you reported the blockage to us.

Reasonable costs

Wannon Water considers that attending site and confirming the location of a blockage would normally take up to one hour (where an inspection shaft is accessible).

  • If you bill the customer for reasonable costs associated with locating a blockage that is Wannon Water’s responsibility, please ensure the bill includes the Wannon Water job number provided to you when you reported the blockage to us.
  • It is Wannon Water’s preference that the property owner makes payment directly to you.
  • Wannon Water has a standard claim form available for property owners to seek reimbursement from us.
  • Unless Wannon Water agrees otherwise, we will not reimburse for costs associated with the installation of an inspection shaft, as this is the responsibility of the property owner.
  • Wannon Water will not reimburse for costs associated with works on any part of the sewer connection drain that the property owner is responsible for maintaining.

Requirements for an inspection shaft where the property owner chooses to install an inspection shaft

  • The inspection shaft is to be installed within one metre inside the property boundary or within one metre of the sewer located within (traversing) the property, if safe or possible to do so.
  • An inspection shaft shall be constructed in accordance with AS3500 with a riser brought to surface and finished with a standard concrete inspection shaft cover.
  • See below diagram showing details for the retrospective installation of an inspection shaft.

Sewer inspection shaft installation