Who Is Responsible For Fixing A Blocked Drain?
Published in Plumbing Tips, 20th Apr 2020
The responsibility for fixing a blocked drain – regardless of who or what caused it – is dependant on what is blocked and where the blockage lies. Below we discuss whose responsibility it is when a sewer drain or stormwater drain becomes blocked.
The property owner is responsible for a blocked sewer drain in Melbourne, except for blockages that are downstream of “The Point”. The Point is the position where the property owner’s drain joins to the Sewer or Water Company’s branch drain (some tenants may be responsible, depending on their lease/rental agreement and what they may have put down the drain. See: Common Causes of a Drain Blockage).
If you have a blocked sewer drain, you need to contact a plumber in Melbourne who will establish if the blockage is in your area of responsibility and if so, clear the blockage for you, or if the blockage is in the Sewer/Water Company’s drain, will refer the blockage on to them. A plumber is not permitted to clear blockages located in the Sewer/Water Company’s drains.
The stormwater drains are a totally different drainage system to the sewer drains. The sewer drains connect all of the toilets, bathrooms, kitchens and laundries to the sewerage system, whereas the stormwater drains connect the roof gutters, downpipes and ground pits to a separate system.
It is generally the property owner’s responsibility to engage a plumber to clear and repair all sections of stormwater drain from the house to where the property drain connects to the council barrel drain or the kerb in the street. The barrel drain can be either in the street or in an easement. The local council can be contacted to obtain the position of what is called the legal point of discharge of the stormwater off a property. Many property owners are surprised when they are told by their plumber that they may be responsible for clearing blockages, repairing, and or replacing the section of stormwater drain between the property boundary to the council barrel drain or the kerb in the street.
When working in the street, outside of the property boundary, the plumber has to be much more aware of the dangers, hazards and requirements involved with working outside of the property boundary. Firstly a road opening permit from the local council is required before any excavation is carried out (even if the excavation is in the footpath or nature strip). If working on a major road then Vic Roads also needs to be contacted and Traffic Management may be required. Dial Before You Dig needs to be done and relevant authorities contacted for clarification of the location of underground services if required. There can be big penalties for not complying and the dangers of contacting a live electrical cable are very high.
If you have a blocked drain, contact O’Shea Plumbing to investigate. We use the most cutting edge equipment to treat your blocked drains in Melbourne. Contact us today on (03) 9888 2887.