A sewage overflow occurs at our Wastewater Treatment Plants when our storage limit exceeds capacity, either due to a major rain event. major equipment failure, or power outage. This results in partially treated or untreated sewage being released into the environment. Overflows are allowed under our Environment Protection Authority licences and are common across all Council areas, not just ours!
A sewage surcharge occurs when the sewerage system is overloaded. This results in untreated wastewater coming out of manholes and overflow relief gullies. A major cause of surcharges is stormwater entering the sewerage system. This occurs through:
- Blockages in the pipes
- Tree roots penetrating or breaking the pipes
- Aging pipes and manholes (ours and yours)
- Localised flooding
- Illegal stormwater connections to the sewer system
Sewerage systems are designed to allow for some stormwater; but it's impractical to build infrastructure that can cope with an unlimited quantity and intensity of water. Our current systems are designed for our growing population, and we’re continuing to plan for our future.
If you see a sewer surcharge, please call us directly on 6581 8111 or after hours on 6583 2225.
Overflows and surcharges can have impacts on both public health and the environment. We report these events to a number of agencies including the NSW Environmental Protection Agency and NSW Health. We’re doing some Inflow and Infiltration testing to identify illegal stormwater connections and damaged infrastructure. This will help minimise the pressure on our sewerage system, reducing surcharges and the need to overflow.