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Run for Locals, By Locals


We like to share our knowledge and expertise! With his in mind, here are some frequently asked questions and common terms explained.

What type of drains do I have at home?

There are a few different types of drains, but here are the most common.

  • Sewer Pipes - Earthenware (clay) or UPVC (plastic) drains are the most common sewer pipes, which are under the ground and your house, connected to other properties. These all connect and link to a sewer main (owned by Sydney Water)
  • Waste Pipes - UPVC (plastic), galvanised steel, copper, brass or lead pipes are installed above ground which then connect to the main bathroom fixtures in your home e.g. bath, sink, tub, shower and floor waste. These then connect to your drainage.
  • Stormwater Pipes - Earthenware or UPVC (plastic) drains are installed underground, which then connect to your downpipes, subsoil system and surface water system to the street gutter.
  • Surcharge Gully - This is and open drain with a grate, designed to overflow outside if a sewer blockage happens. It is important that the opening to a surcharge gully is never obstructed.
  • Vent Pipe - This pipe is installed through the roof allowing sewer drains to breathe.
Which drains are my responsibility?

The sewer and stormwater pipes are your main responsibility so it is important to keep them maintained. The sewer pipe usually ends at the junction of the sewer main (which is owned by Sydney Water). The stormwater pipes end at the street gutter or connected to a council or private common drain.

What are the common causes of blocked drains?
  • In the sewer - Tree roots, fat, grease, sanitary products, paper, toys, broken pipes all contribute to building up in the sewer pipe and causing a blockage. A blockage can also occur in the sewer main.
  • In your waste pipes - The common blockages are caused by fat and grease, hair, soap, and sand, which block the trap under the fixture. Prevent this with sink hair catchers.
  • In the stormwater pipes - Tree roots, leaves, silt and broken pipes can all cause blockages but commonly blockages are caused by tree roots and paper combining to form a plug. This prevents the flow of sewage to back up drain. Early warning signs are the toilet pan over filling, gurgling or the surcharge gully outside overflowing.
What if the problem is not my responsibility?

Your plumber will assess the situation and usually charge Sydney Water for work carried out if it is deemed their responsibility.

How do tree roots get into drains?

Tree roots grow and are drawn to water through broken pipes or faulty joints, which leak and attract the tree roots.

How do underground drains get broken?

The earth is moving all the time and gradual ground movement, expansion and contraction, introduction of large tree roots and heavy vehicle damage from roads above can all cause damage to underground drains.

Can blocked drains damage my home?

Blocked drains leak into the ground and provide nutrients for tree roots to grow. This can be serious as the tree roots interfere with house foundations. Uneven soil moisture can also cause uneven bearing of house foundations.

How do plumbers clean drains?

The expert team at Aim Local Plumbing uses various methods depending on the necessity of the job. Specialised tools such as an electric eel, which is a spinning steel rod with a cutter on end. Or a high-pressure water jet with cutting heads which doesn't damage plastic pipes.

Can I look inside my drains?

Aim Local use a closed circuit television camera (C.C.T.V), which is pushed through a clean drain on the end of a flexible cable to see where the blockage is occurring.

Can I locate underground drains?

Yes you can, Aim Local use specialised electronic tracing equipment to locate underground drains.

How do I stop the blockage returning?

You can't stop blockages happening from time to time but you can certainly reduce the chances of it happening by doing a thorough job the first time.

  • Firstly, clear the blocked drain and clean inside the pipe with a water jet.
  • Inspect inside of the pipe with a closed C.C.T.V camera to be sure all obstructions are removed.
  • Trace the C.C.T.V. camera head to locate the position of any broken pipes.
  • Replace broken section of pipe.
What's the quick solution?

For immediate relief of a blocked drain you should clear the drain blockage with and electric eel or water jet and then clean regularly as tree roots grow will grow back into the pipes.

Can I excavate to remove a broken pipe?

It is advised that you only excavate using the skills of a qualified plumber. There are strict safety guidelines and by using a qualified plumber you reduce the risk of larger excavations than necessary.

Can I replace a broken pipe?

By law a broken pipe repair or replacement must be carried out by a licensed plumber.

Can I back fill after repairs have been completed?

Under guidance from your plumber, you can backfill; it is always wise to check first with a qualified plumber before going ahead.

Terms & Conditions

Conditions apply, call for details. Residential Only. Only one offer per household, offers not applicable with any other offer, nor off any call out or after hours fees. Regular Business hours only. Home owners must be present. Drain offers and CCTV offers are only applicable to a residential blocked sewer drain which is accessible through an outdoor cleanout point. Any inspections will only identify areas we consider of concern and should not be considered a full written safety report.