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What Lies Beneath: Demystifying the Domestic Sewer System
domestic sewer system

Hello, well, here we are again, Spring is only a matter of days away and the Footy finals are just around the corner, come on The Knights! It’s just a great time of year, everyone seems to find a little spring in their step looking forward to the warmer months.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the upcoming blog and thought of a different approach and instead of singling out any one area of your plumbing that could be a problem, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how the domestic sewer system works. There are probably a few things you’ve noticed around the house that you may have wondered about or thought about what that does or why is that there, so I’ll try and fill you in.

Every time you flush the toilet, wash your hands, or run the dishwasher, you’re contributing to a complex and essential system that keeps our communities clean and healthy – the domestic sewer system. In New South Wales, like in many other places around the world, efficient sewer systems are critical for maintaining public health and the environment.

For each domestic sewer system on an individual property, you will find three integral parts. You should be able to point these out around the house. 

The first is the Sewer Shaft or Boundary Trap. This is a cast iron or PVC lid which is usually situated in your back or front yard. This is the last point of your property’s sewer system before it enters the Hunter Water main. It’s an extremely important part of the system and should always be accessible.

Another fixture you most likely noticed is a pipe in the backyard or down the side of the house with a grate over it, possibly with a garden tap above it. This is known as the overflow gully, and it is there purely to protect your property from a blocked or surcharging sewer.  As you can imagine, if this wasn’t in place things could get very messy very quickly.

The third component in the system is the sewer vent. This is the pipe you have likely seen penetrating your roof or running up your external wall and terminating above the roof line. It is necessary to have a vent pipe on all sewer systems to allow air in and out of the pipes. If there wasn’t a vent pipe installed, this could cause a vacuum seal within the system which would prevent the water from draining away and causing a blockage.

So next time you are out in the yard, and you notice any of these fixtures just remember they are a critical component to the Domestic Sewer System in NSW and each of the parts are equally as important as the other.

If you have noticed any signs that your Sewer system may not be operating as it should please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can attend your property and give you an assessment by investigating with our CCTV pipe camera and making sure your sewer system is in good running order.

I hope this has given you a little insight into a very important piece of infrastructure on your property.

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