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Plumbers help & advice

Plumbers help & advice

Connection points, blockages, galvanised pipes and pipes under driveways.

Maintenance responsibilities - water

Maintenance responsibilities - sewer

The areas of responsibility for maintenance of the sanitary drain are shown in the diagram below.

Diagram

Can't find a connection point?

  • North East Water will issue a water service pipe or sewer connection point plan with relevant ties and depths when a connection application is approved.
  • The sewerage connection point must be located before commencement of laying any property drain. No compensation will be considered for drains laid in the wrong location.
  • North East Water only accepts responsibility for the accuracy of the measurements to within one metre, plus or minus (both horizontally and vertically), as alterations may have been made during or subsequent to the preparation of the plan. If the service pipe or connection point is not exposed within these boundaries, the plumber needs to notify the Corporation for clarification of measurements. North East Water staff may attend the site and will either assume responsibility for the works or authorise the plumber to continue working.
  • The maximum compensation for works carried out before notifying the Corporation is limited to one hour for a plumber, and one hour for an excavator or labour (unless authorised per previous statement). No compensation will be considered unless our staff are advised of a pending claim at the time of point location. Compensation claims must be lodged within 14 days.

Service pipes under driveways

  • The water service pipe may be covered by a concrete driveway, but the distance from the edge of the concrete to the service pipe must be no more than 50 centimetres.
  • There must be an isolating valve installed (and 90 degree bend) in a pit inside the property boundary to indicate the position of the tapping on the main and to denote the end of North East Water’s maintenance responsibility.
  • The meter assembly is to be placed along the property boundary with another isolating valve included.  It is preferred that the meter is installed parallel to the water main, not at right angles as required by the Plumbing Regulations. This orientation indicates that the installation is non-standard and that the isolating valve on the meter assembly does not denote the location of the water tapping.
  • If the distance from the edge of the driveway to the service pipe is greater than 50 centimetres, the existing water tapping must be disconnected and a new water tapping and service pipe installed at a different location.

Related Diagram

Galvanised pipes

  • North East Water will replace a galvanised iron property service pipe if it is leaking and in the Corporation’s opinion cannot be repaired or is not viable to repair
  • If the pipe is replaced at the request of the owner, for any reason other than stated above, the property owner is responsible for a portion of the cost of the replacement which is outlined in our fees and charges.

Clearing blockages

  • The areas of responsibility for maintenance of the sanitary drain are shown in this diagram

Diagram

  • When a licensed plumber is engaged to clear a blockage in a property drain and believes that the blockage is located in a section of the pipe for which North East Water is responsible, the plumber must contact the Corporation.
  • North East Water’s staff will attend the site and assume responsibility or authorise the plumber to attempt to clear the drain
  • The Corporation is prepared to reimburse the plumber for reasonable costs incurred for up to one hour of works if notification has been given as above. However, compensation agreed by both parties will be determined on site while the works are still open or in progress.
  • If the blockage is found to be in the private drains on private property and the plumber has not made a reasonable effort to clear the blockage before contacting North East Water, the plumber will be charged for the Corporation’s attendance at the site.
  • If an account is to be issued to North East Water, it must contain full details of the work undertaken including the name of the Corporation’s contact officer, rates and charges for labour, plant and material used and the location and cause of the blockage if determined.
  • In a situation where the owner contacts North East Water directly, our staff will attend the site at no cost to determine responsibility.  North East Water’s staff will not attempt to clear a private drain.
  • Plumbers are reminded that it is an offence under the Water Act and the Plumbing Regulations to re-new, demolish or interfere with any pipes and fittings in a property branch or reticulation sewer without previously obtaining permission. The contractor must not remove the Corporation’s sewer manhole lids nor enter the manhole chamber without prior approval of the Corporation. Only experienced personnel trained in confined space entry procedures will be permitted to enter manholes. All entries into manholes will be in accordance with the Corporation’s Occupational Health and Safety procedures.
  • All work carried out on a property drain is to be in accordance with the Victorian Water Supply and Sewerage Plumber Regulations.

Copper pipe corrosion

We acknowledge concerns from customers who have internal property copper failures. It is important that plumbers provide the right advice to customers when they experience plumbing issues.

From time to time problems do occur with copper. Copper pipe corrosion is a complex issue and the subject of much research, with the reasons still not fully understood.

Possible causes of corrosion

Customer internal copper pipe and fittings may experience failure for many reasons, including:

  • age of the copper (wear and tear)
  • quality of the copper
  • installation environment
  • installation techniques
  • electrolysis
  • concentration cell corrosion
  • high and low water flow
  • bacteria biofilm growth which may cause internal corrosion
What can be done to reduce copper corrosion

Short-term

  • Advise customers to regularly flush their water piping by turning on one tap at a time to full pressure for 30 seconds.

Long-term

  • Replace old or defective copper pipes with new copper or an alternate product.
How to check for signs of copper pipe corrosion
  • check for signs of blue stains around bathroom fixtures (especially noticeable on white china)
  • check filters and tap outlet strainers for blue particles
  • run two to three litres of water at high flow into a white container, checking for signs of blue particles.
North East Water’s responsibility

Water supplied to North East Water customers is typically soft due to the catchments we source our water from.

North East Water delivers water that is compliant with the drinking water quality requirements under Victorian Regulations and National Guidelines.

North East Water is typically responsible for maintaining the quality and safety of the water supply up until the customer’s water meter. The construction and maintenance of plumbing within the property (after the water meter) is the responsibility of the property owner (Water Act 1989).

Plumbers please note:
  • It is important that plumbers continue to comply with AS/NZS 3500.1 2015 Plumbing and Drainage – Water services.
  • Improper installation of copper piping by failure to properly de-burr or ream the ends of the copper pipe and/or the use of excessive acid flux when soldering the pipes may contribute to copper pipe corrosion.
  • It is important that post-installation of any potable water connection to a property that the entire system is flushed and cleaned prior to customers consuming any water. North East Water recommend that each fixture should be run clear for a period of 30 seconds.

Further information concerning the Corrosion of Copper Pipes in Australian Drinking Waters can be found through this factsheet provided by the Water Services Association of Australia.

Making work requests

We have recently implemented an Asset Management System to enable us to initiate and track work requests. This lets our outdoor staff complete jobs in an effective and timely manner and allows us to identify ongoing issues with our infrastructure.

When making a work request, plumbers are required to call 1300 361 622 instead of contacting local area staff. Issues and requests will be entered into our asset management system and then passed on to the appropriate area. This process will ensure that all requests are logged and followed up appropriately.

Blockage notifications

When called out to a sewer blockage, plumbers are required to determine if North East Water or the customer is responsible for the blockage within the first hour of arriving on the job.

If it is North East Water’s responsibility, the plumber must advise us on 1300 361 622 and our staff will attend to the job. We may alternatively authorise the plumber to continue the works on our behalf and reimburse the plumber for the works undertaken. Please note this is the only way that reimbursement for works will occur.