Illegal storm-water connections threaten sewerage network

Ratepayers and residents connecting or allowing storm-water run-off from their properties to enter Cowra's sewerage system are endangering the service's continuing effectiveness.

"Every time it rains, our sewerage system is under threat from illegal storm-water connections flooding the sewerage network," Cowra Council's Director, Infrastructure and Operations, Dirk Wymer explained.

"This storm-water comes from surfaces such as lawns, roads, roofs, carparks, and natural ground surfaces, but storm-water and sewage do not mix!" he added.

He said that it is illegal to direct either storm-water or rain-water into the sewerage system via a household's Overflow Relief Gully (ORG); the drain-like recess covered by a grated lid outside all homes in Cowra.

Sewage overflows occur when storm-water enters the sewerage system during rainfall periods which creates excessive water-flow thereby placing immense pressure on the network by causing pipes to back-up and forcing sewerage manholes open with subsequent overflow and spills.

"By detecting and fixing any points on your property where rainwater may enter the sewer, you will be 'doing your part' to protect your property, neighbourhood, and the environment against wet-weather sewage overflows," Mr Wymer said.

All storm-water on private properties must therefore be directed to a rain-water tank, the road kerb, or a dedicated storm-water pit.

"If the downpipe from your roof is located near your sewerage pipe or appears to drain into it, an illegal connection may exist. If you think your storm-water pipes are connected to the sewerage system, have them inspected by a licensed plumber," Mr Wymer concluded.