Sewer blockages and overflow

Sewer blockages and overflow

Common causes of sewer blockages, which restrict proper flow in wastewater pipes, include:

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

How to prevent blockages

All foreign objects have the potential to disrupt our wastewater system’s operation, but the main two objects are:

  • Tree roots. Choosing certain trees and shrubs for your garden can help prevent blockages – our Tree Planting Guide can help in selection.
  • Wet wipes. While toilet paper breaks down in around 30 seconds, wet wipes are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. They 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.

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 at or by calling 8292 4000.

If you think the sewer blockage is in our pipes, please call our Customer Care Centre. Our staff will help you work out the likely location and cause of the problem and we will visit your property to clear the blockage.

If your plumber finds that the blockage is in our infrastructure, they will contact our Customer Care 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 us 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 you’re 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 us within 60 days of the work being performed.
  4. 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.
  • Email:
    SA Water Customer Connections and Service Centre  – Plumbers Claims
    GPO Box 1751 ADELAIDE  SA  5001