Common causes of sewer blockages include wet wipes, nappies, sanitary items or other non-flushable items flushed down the toilet, or fats, oils and grease tipped down the sink, as well as tree roots growing into the sewer pipes. When wet wipes and other non-flushables combine with fats and oils, they create 'fatbergs', which can also get caught in pipes, in pumps and on tree roots to cause major, often expensive blockages. For more information about why you should only flush the 3Ps (pee, poo and toilet paper), see our Don't Flush It page.
Signs of a sewer blockage may include a strong sewer smell in your home, your sink, bath or toilet might be slow to drain, a toilet that's not flushing properly or has overflowed, or the toilet or drains are gurgling, or sewage has overflowed into your yard.
What to do if you suspect there's a sewer blockage
You should call our Faults and Emergencies team (24 hours, 7 days a week), and our operators can help determine if the blockage is in your property's plumbing, or if it's in the GVW assets.
If the blockage is in your home, you'll need to call a licenced plumber to remove it. If the blockage is within our assets and infrastructure, we'll send our operations and maintenance teams to remove/repair it.
Generally, GVW is responsible, for the infrastucture from the sewer main to the first inspection shaft, or one meter from the property boundary, whichever is lesser.
Costs involved in repairing sewer blockages
If the blockage is in your property's pipework/infrastructure, it will be your responsibility to pay.
If the blockage is in GVW's asset, it will be our responsibility. If a plumber attends a job and finds it's a blockage in GVW's area of responsibility, we will reimburse reasonable costs from the diagnosis/removal of the blockage. Some limitations exist, please read our fact sheet below for more information on specific cost coverage information.
You can find more information or download a copy of our Information Sheet - Sewer Blockages (PDF, 435kb)
A blockage found in the sewer system in our Central District.