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Why do I need a Sewer Service Diagram?

A Sewer Service Diagram, drainage diagram or “helio” (for plumbers over 30 years old) is a map that shows where the sewer pipes run throughout your home, or commercial property.

This sewer drainage diagram is available from Sydney Water, the Water authority in your capital city, a reputable plumber’s supplier or your local Council, depending on where you are in Australia!

In NSW a sewer drainage diagram is a normal inclusion in a “Contract of Sale” for your home.

The sewer diagram shows a line diagram  of your property, including the boundaries of the property with the outline of the dwelling and associated buildings, with all plumbing or sanitary fixtures shown.

Whenever the sanitary or sewer drainage on a property is either modified or added to by a licensed plumber or drainer, the local water authority is booked to inspect the work and modify any existing drainage plans and upgrade the sewer diagrams of each individual property.

The sewer diagram will show if your sewer pipeline runs through other properties, if it is connected to a common sewer with multiple properties on the line and where your sewer line joins the Water Board or Municipal or Council sewer mains.

Be aware, some inner city suburbs like Paddington and Balmain have rows of terraces with up to 20 homes, and in some cases more, running through the one sewer line across the back or front of the properties.

Whenever you have a blockage in a joint or common service, it’s imperative that all parties on the common line realise that the problem is the responsibility of all parties on that common line.

That means the costs of any repairs or service  to this common line should be borne by all parties on the line!

A current drainage diagram will show who is connected to the common sewer line and who isn’t.

If you have a hint of a blocked drain and you need to stop tree roots in drains, have a sewer diagram within easy reach!

Costs of this diagram will vary, dependent on the source and may range between $16 and $60.00

Why we need a plan of our sewer pipes

Generally, when sewer pipes and drains are installed by a licensed plumber, they are inspected by an authorised person who draws a plan of the drainage installation showing where the drains run, what plumbing fixtures are connected and what, if any, other properties are connected.

Currently, we have a self inspection system where the plumber draws the drainage installation and submits the drawing to the local water authority or council for their records.

Owners can get a copy of this diagram from their local water authority or council. If your property has a history of blocked drains or is surrounded by trees, I strongly suggest you have a copy of this drainage diagram and keep it in a safe and easily accessible place.

Your local plumber can assist with getting a copy of this drainage diagram.

In NSW Australia, a drainage diagram is a standard inclusion in a Contract of Sale for any property. I suggest you look there first!

Who is responsible for these drains?

Problems with drains, including blockages, occur no matter what type of building you live in.

Most single or multiple level houses have their own drainage systems taking the discharge from all the plumbing fixtures within the property. The owner of the  property is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their pipes up to the point where his pipes join the council main.

Rows of terrace houses in inner city suburbs and semi-detached homes often drain into a “common sewer line”. These terrace rows can have up to 20 homes or more, draining into one common line. Depending on the fall of the land, this common sewer line may pass across the front or rear of the row and then  spill into a Boundary trap, before discharging into the Water authority’s main sewer line.

Generally, the common sewer line should be maintained by the owners of the properties connected to the sewer line, and costs associated with works or repairs on this  common sewer line should be borne by all parties on that common sewer line.

If blockages, repairs or pipe renewals are confined to the pipes and drains that take the discharge from any one particular house on the common sewer line, then those costs should be borne by that individual.

Any property owners connected to a common sewer line should be aware that should a blockage occur in the common line, downstream of where he/she connects to the line, the sewer may surcharge or overflow in his/her yard or garden if it is the lowest open drain in the line.

This can be quite unpleasant if someone else’s sewer is coming up in your yard or even worse, your home!

When blockages occur, we recommend that all owners connected to a common sewer line communicate and co-operate with all other parties on this line .

Strata home unit blocks and Townhouses will have their own drainage lines that generally drain to a Boundary trap and then on to the Water Authority or Council sewer mains.

The responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of these drains is generally directed by a Strata Title Manager  and sometimes a Real Estate Property Manager.

Commercial properties, Industrial Estates and Schools generally all have their own  drainage lines that generally drain to a Boundary trap and then on to the Water Authority or Council sewer mains.