General plumbing information

When can you do your own plumbing work?

You can only do minor plumbing work, such as changing tap washers, yourself. 

You need to hire a plumber to:

  • fix bigger problems
  • do renovation work
  • replace hot water systems, toilets and showers. 


Ask your plumber about the best products to help you save water at home.

Plumber fixinf leakunder sink

You'll need a plumber for any major repairs and renovations.

Maintaining your pipes and fittings

You're responsible for maintaining the pipes and fittings on your property up to where they connect to our water, wastewater and stormwater networks.

This is your point of connection.

The pipes and fittings include all:

  • private water, wastewater and stormwater pipes and taps
  • pumps, tanks and other equipment used on your private pipes
  • pipes that you share with other properties
  • private pipes that service your property, even if they're not on your property.
You're also responsible for protecting any of our pipes and fittings that are on your land and you must let us enter your property if we need to maintain or repair any part of the water, wastewater or stormwater systems. Read more below.
Leak diagram

If you have a leak in your water pipe, you must ask a licensed plumber to repair it.


To find out more about what you need to maintain, read our Responsibilities of connected customers policy.
 

Maintaining our pipes and fittings

We're responsible for our pipes and the water meter on your property. We also sometimes have other assets on your property that we must also maintain.

Call us if you spot a leak in our pipes
If you see a leak in our pipes, call us any time on 13 20 90.

We may repair the water pipe that connects your property to our water network if the problem is less than one metre inside your property.

We don't offer a free repair service for:

  • wastewater pipes
  • unauthorised connections
  • pipes we can't get to easily
  • pipes that have been damaged by others
  • water pipes that run along the footpath or cross other properties to connect to our water network.
Leak diagram

If you see a leak in our pipes, please tell us and we'll repair it.

Protecting our pipes and other assets 

We have pipes and other assets on or near your property that you must help protect from damage. While we will maintain these, your responsibility is to keep them clear and provide us with access when we need to maintain or repair them.

If you damage any of our pipes or fittings, we may charge you to repair or replace them. These include:

  • water meters
  • water, wastewater and stormwater pipes
  • wastewater pumps and associated equipment
  • hydrants
  • maintenance holes
  • ventilation shafts.

You must not bury or build over any of these, as we may need access to maintain, repair or replace them and we need to read the meter.

Water meters

Please make sure the area around the meter is clear and accessible so we can read, repair or replace it. Learn more about your meter

Water, wastewater and stormwater pipes

Sometimes our pipes run under private property. If you're doing any building, excavating or landscaping work on your property call Dial before you dig to find out where our pipes and other services are before you start.

If you're building over or next to our assets, we may need to approve your building plans. Learn more about building plan approvals.

Wastewater pumps and associated equipment

Most people are connected to the normal wastewater system, but in some parts of Sydney we have agreements with customers for pressure or vacuum systems. In these cases, we may need to maintain or repair pumps and associated equipment on your property. Find out more about different types of wastewater systems.

Hydrants

Hydrants enable us to access the water mains. They are usually covered by a metal or concrete plate and are on the footpath or roadway. Please don't build your driveway over them or bury the hydrants on the nature strip.

Don't remove or obscure the small signs with HP or HR in red. These show the Fire & Rescue and Rural Fire Services where the hydrants are in case of fire. Being able to find the hydrant quickly can be critical during an emergency. 

Maintenance holes

Maintenance holes may be on or near your property, usually near the boundary. These holes enable us to access our wastewater and stormwater systems to clear blockages.

If we can't access these holes to clear blockages, wastewater or stormwater can back up in the pipe and flow out of pipe grates or openings into the street, your yard or possibly inside your home. Read more about blockages below.

Ventilation shafts

Ventilation shafts allow air to enter and exit the wastewater system. This helps prevent the pipes corroding.

Please call us on 13 20 90 to report faults with any of our pipes or fittings, whether they're on your property, the footpath or the road.


Allowing us to enter your property

Under the Sydney Water Act, you must allow us to enter your property to maintain or repair our water, wastewater or stormwater system when we need to. We'll usually write to you to arrange an appointment, although you don't usually need to be home as long as you provide clear access and secure your pets. 

Working on hydrants

We need to access our equipment for repairs and maintenance whether its on the street or on your property.

Finding and preventing leaks

Leaks occur when a pipe has been damaged in some way. This causes water or wastewater to leak out of the pipe.

You might have a leak in your water pipe if you have:

  • wet patches on your lawn during dry weather
  • patches of lawn or garden that are growing better than the area around it
  • a funny hissing sound coming from your water pipe
  • a water bill with much higher water use than usual, although you haven't changed the way you use water on your property.

Read about leak detection to learn how to find and prevent leaks.

If your bill was higher than expected, you may have a hidden leak. If a licensed plumber finds and repairs a hidden leak, you can apply for an allowance on your bill.

Who do you call to report a leak?
Call a licensed plumber if you find a leak in your private water pipes.

If you think the leak is in one of our pipes, call us on 13 20 90.


 

Preventing wastewater blockages in your pipes

Blockages occur when there's something inside your pipe that stops it working properly.

Most blockages occur in wastewater pipes. They're usually caused by tree roots that have found a way into the pipes or when someone has put something down the toilet that it's not designed for. For example, children sometimes put soft toys down the toilet.

You might have a blockage in your pipes if:

  • your sinks, bath or toilet are slow to empty
  • your toilet is not flushing properly or has overflowed
  • your toilet or floor drain is making funny gurgling noises
  • wastewater (sewage) has overflowed from the drain near your outside tap.


Call a licensed plumber if you have a blockage in your private wastewater (sewer) pipes. If you think the blockage is in our pipes, call us on 13 20 90.

If you're out of pocket because of a blockage in our wastewater pipes, you may be able to make a sewer choke claim.
 
You can help stop blockages by:

  • choosing the right trees for your garden
  • making sure you don't plant trees near any pipes. 
Your local nursery can give you advice on trees and their root system.

If you'd like to know where your pipes are, apply for a sewerage service diagram through Sydney Water Tap inTM.

Using licensed plumbers

If you know how, you can change washers or showerheads on your own property yourself.

You must hire a licensed plumber for all other work.

Don't forget to ask the plumber to give you a  Certificate of Compliance after they've finished the work. 

For more information about when you need a licensed plumber, visit  NSW Fair Trading.
Leaking tap

A dripping tap wastes over 2,000 litres of water a month!