When sewage overflows occur and sewage has been discharged through manholes or other overflow points, we will:
assign work crews to contain spills, clean and disinfect affected areas
assign specialist environmental staff to conduct sampling and monitoring
barricade affected areas if sewage spills are ongoing
erect signage to notify residents of sewage spill (when a public area or waterway has been impacted)
divert sewage flows into less inundated parts of the system
get tankers to pump sewage directly from the system to relieve the pressure on particular pump stations and
conduct water-quality testing to ensure that waterways are not polluted with unacceptable bacteria levels.
We also work with councils to protect public health and, as a result of wet-weather incidents, beaches and waterways may be closed.
What you can do to help reduce overflows
Good to know
Sewage overflows usually occur during times of significant wet weather. During times like these, sewage is likely to be heavily diluted with stormwater.
When there is persistent heavy rain or a flood event, large volumes of stormwater often get into the sewerage system. This happens due to run-off or incorrect piping that channels stormwater into the sewer. At times like this, sewage can discharge through manholes and other overflow points.
We strongly advise all residents and visitors to stay out of flood-affected waters during and after a storm, as the water may contain snags, sharp objects, stormwater-diluted sewage, chemical waste, fallen powerlines and wildlife.
Most people don't realise that the sewerage and stormwater systems are two very different networks.
They are each designed to keep stormwater out of the sewage system and vice versa.
Large amounts of stormwater however can enter the sewerage network, especially during heavy wet weather. This increases the chances of sewage backing up and spilling into streets, parks, beaches or even into people's homes.
In many cases the problem is incorrect drainage connections such as downpipes running into the sewer or Overflow Relief Gullies positioned too low.