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
- concentration cell corrosion
- high and low water flow
- bacteria biofilm growth which may cause internal corrosion
What can be done to reduce copper corrosion
- Advise customers to regularly flush their water piping by turning on one tap at a time to full pressure for 30 seconds.
- 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.
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.
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.