Who is responsible?

  • If the blockage is in a home's internal pipes, the property owner is responsible.

  • If the blockage is at or beyond the connection point in the sewer, Yarra Valley Water is responsible.

  • If the location of the blockage is unclear ,Yarra Valley Water will make an assessment to determine who is responsible.

To speak to Yarra Valley Water in relation to a blockage, call 13 2762.


How do I know where the blockage is?

  • If sewage is spilling continuously and no fixtures are being used, call Yarra Vally Water on 13 2762.

  • If you have a slowly draining toilet, sink or shower, it may be a blockage in Yarra Valley Water or your pipes. First try a private plumber.

  • If you hear a bubbling sound from your fixtures and none are being used, call Yarra Valley Water.

  • If the blockage occurs only when you use one of your fixtures, it may be a blockage in Yarra Valley Water or your pipes. First try a private plumber.


Sewerage inflow sources
What if I call a plumber and the blockage is in Yarra Valley Water’s pipes?

  • The plumber will determine where the blockage is and call us if the blockage is in Yarra Valley Water’s pipes.

  • For making the call, the plumber is paid a spotter's fee of $74 plus GST.

  • If the plumber invoices you for the time spent, YVW will reimburse the reasonable costs (approx $200 to $300 depending on the time of day) incurred to make the diagnosis. Download the sewer reimbursement form here.

  • Send the plumber's invoice together with a cover letter (include details of the blockage, your banking details if you wish to be reimbursed via electronic funds transfer or who you wish the cheque to made payable to i.e. yourself, the plumber or other 3rd party) to the Customer Service Management team, Private Bag 1, Mitcham, VIC 3132.

If the plumber also clears your own pipes or digs to find your inspection point/boundary trap, you are responsible for the cost of this work.

Inspection shafts and boundary traps

  • If an inspection shaft (IS) or boundary trap (BT) was originally constructed on the property, the plumbing code states this point should remain at surface level at all times.

  • An IS/BT at surface level allows for easy and quick inspection and cleaning of the sewer pipes.

  • If you call us to clear a blockage and your IS/BT is buried, the crew will ask you to raise the point to surface as they cannot clear the blockage without it being to surface.

  • We will then return once the IS or BT has been raised to surface. 

Overflow relief gully, gully vents and gully traps

  • The overflow relief gully (ORG)/Gully Vent (GV)/Gully trap (GT) prevents sewage spilling inside your house.

  • The ORG/GV/GT is usually located just outside the rear or side wall of the dwelling.

  • If a sewer pipe is blocked, it will spill out of a working ORG before it spills into the house.

  • It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure the ORG is working correctly.

  • An faulty ORG may impact on the value of any insurance payouts following a sewer spill.

  • If a house is extended over an existing ORG, make sure the ORG is moved outside the walls of the extension. 

Property access

  • If a property in your neighbourhood has a blocked sewer pipe, Yarra Valley Water may need to access your property to repair the pipe.

  • Even if you are not experiencing symptoms of the sewer blockage, your property contains sewer pipes that are linked to the blockage. We may also need to access your property to get machinery close to the blockage to repair it.

  • The Water Act 1989 allows for Yarra Valley Water to enter land for the purpose of repairing, maintaining and inspecting its infrastructure. This includes land containing an easement or land containing Yarra Valley Water’s water and sewer infrastructure.

  • As part of completing the repair work to the neighbouring property Yarra Valley Water is committed to creating minimal disruption and reinstate your land and property as nearly as possible to the condition it was found. This is consistent with the Water Act 1989. Yarra Valley Water will not only focus on resolving the sewer service issue but:

  • Cause as little harm and inconvenience as possible

  • Not stay any longer than necessary

  • Remove its plant and equipment

  • Leave the land as nearly as possible in the condition it was found, and

  • Co-operate as much as possible with the occupier of the land. 

What will happen after the blockage is cleared?

  • You will receive a call from Yarra Valley Water to confirm the blockage is clear and that you are happy with the reinstatement of your yard.

  • If the crew reports back that the pipe is likely to block again in the next 12 months, Yarra Valley Water will contact you to first arrange for a CCTV camera inspection. Depending on what the inspection reveals, Yarra Valley Water may then arrange to rehabilitate the pipe.

  • Through the rehabilitation process, you will be kept informed on the next steps and Yarra Valley Water and its contractors will call you each time access is required to your property.

  • If during the repair process Yarra Valley Water also require access to your neighbours' properties, we will contact them to arrange access to their properties. 

Property Sewerage Plan

A Property Sewerage Plan (PSP) (the plan/map you refer to in your email) is a sketch of the drain and fixture locations of a property. 

All pipes shown on the PSP are part of the private house connection drain (HCD) of the property and the responsibility of the property owner to maintain.  The Victorian Building Authority (the licensing body for plumbers) requires licensed plumbers to submit an updated PSP to the relevant water authority within 14 days of any modification to a property’s drainage system. Yarra Valley Water (YVW) acts as a librarian for the PSPs of the properties within its area. The PSPs are then available from YVW for plumbers and property owners when required in the future. YVW also use the PSPs in conjunction with the maps of its own sewage pipes to facilitate the clearance of sewer blockages and maintenance of the sewer system.