Sewer blockages and overflow

Sewer blockages and overflow

Sewer blockages occur in wastewater pipes. They usually occur when there is something in the pipe restricting proper flow.

Common causes of sewer blockages include:

  • tree roots
  • fat, oil or grease build-ups
  • foreign objects
  • sewer line collapse.

Preventing blockages

All foreign objects have the potential to disrupt our wastewater system’s operation.

Selecting certain trees and shrubs for your garden can assist in preventing blockages. You can read more here PDF, 830.92 KB.

Wet wipes are another problem for the wastewater industry.

Wet wipes are moist cloths often used for personal hygiene, however they are not designed to be flushed down the toilet.

While toilet paper breaks down in around 30 seconds, wet wipes are much stronger and don’t easily disintegrate in the wastewater system.

As well as the costs involved in removing them from the wastewater system, wet wipes can damage your plumbing and cause environmental issues, such as overflows to creeks and waterways.

Look after your sewer system and the environment by placing wet wipes in the bin rather than flushing them after use.

What to do if you experience a sewer blockage

If you have a sewer blockage in the private sewerage pipes on your property, we suggest you contact a licensed plumber to investigate further. You can find a local licensed plumber, who is also a member of the Master Plumbers Association, at or by calling 8292 4000.

If you think the sewer blockage is in SA Water's pipes, please call our Customer Service Centre. Our Service Centre staff will ask you some questions to work out the likely location and cause of the problem.

We will then come out to the property, clear the blockage. We will also give you additional information or advice.

If your plumber finds that the blockage is in our infrastructure, they will contact our Customer Service Centre to have the problem fixed. Plumbers are not allowed to do any work on SA Water's infrastructure.

Who can make a sewer blockage claim?

Plumbers can make sewer blockage claims. If you are a plumber, you can make a claim only if you have:

  • attended a property to fix a sewer blockage
  • found that the problem is in SA Water's infrastructure
  • called SA Water to report the blockage
  • a job number that relates to your call.

How to make a claim

  1. Complete the Plumbers Claim reimbursement form
    This must be done while at the property. You will need to get the customer's signature before you lodge the claim.
  2. Attach a copy of an invoice for the approved reimbursement amount. The invoice must be on your company letterhead. (Reimbursement amounts are listed on the second page of the claim form.)
  3. Lodge the claim with SA Water within 60 days of the work being performed.
  • Email:
    SA Water Customer Connections and Service Centre – Plumbers Claims
    GPO Box 1751 ADELAIDE  SA  5001

Claim processing times

Your claim will be processed within 20 days from the date of invoice. If the claim is not eligible, we will return it to you with further information.

Protect your property against overflows

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