Frequently asked questions


Sydney Water Infrastructure

What does PE stand for in pipes?

PE stands for polyethylene, a thermoplastic material produced from the polymerization of ethylene.

What is the cause of most water main breaks?

Common causes of watermain breaks include changes in temperature, excavation work, materials becoming brittle over time, and pressure changes.

What is a water main?

A water main is a pipe that forms part of the water distribution system which conveys potable (drinkable) water but not wastewater.

How deep is a water main line?

Water mains are installed at a depth between 0.5mm and 2.4m and are located in either the footpath our road.

How do I get water connected NSW?

When you make a new water connection, you must get a licensed plumber to install the water pipe from the point of connection to the meter. Licensed plumbers must install the water meter within 2 days of connection. If you want us to install the meter, apply at Sydney Water Tap in and we’ll install it free of charge.

What is Sydney Water Tap in?

Sydney Water Tap in gives you access to convenient online Sydney Water application forms for all sorts of building and development projects, and provides step-by-step instructions on what you need to support them.

What is a water services coordinator?

Water Service Coordinators can help coordinate your Building Plan Approval and Section 73 Certificate application. Their services may include:
Reviewing your Building Plan Application, getting a lodgement summary on your behalf, advising you on what documents you need for your building application, lodging approved plans to Sydney Water, project managing piering inspection, junction inspection, and/or concrete encasement if they’re needed.
We have longstanding relationships with a network of Water Servicing Coordinators and we’re more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Why do I need a Sydney water accredited contractor?

No matter what sort of development you’re building, you need to make sure you’re not going to impact any of Sydney Water’s sewer, water or stormwater pipes. We help you work out what Sydney Water assets are on your property. We also work with Sydney Water and/or a Water Servicing Coordinator to provide a detailed report. For more information about this service, visit our Peg Out page.

What is a Sydney water accredited contractor?

Sydney Water accredited plumbers are the only individuals and companies that are approved to build Sydney water assets. We have shown Sydney Water that we have the capability, qualifications and experience needed to meet their high-quality standards.

What is sewer diversion?

Sewer diversion refers to the rerouting of sewage lines and is generally required when a sewer asset is impeding some form of construction or land development.

What is civil plumbing?

Civil plumbing includes a range of plumbing services that align with specific civil requirements. These services include; gas and sewer connections, subsoil drainage, stormwater and hydraulic plumbing, drainage installations, urban irrigation, landscape drainage, new development drainage and more.

What materials are used to build a manhole?

Manholes can be built using a variety of materials including precast concrete, plastic, cast iron and fibreglass.

What are the features of a manhole?

The features of a manhole include; the access shaft, the working chamber, the base and side walls, the ladder, the invert/bottom, and the manhole cover.

What are Sydney Water minimum excavation dimension requirements for drilling the water main?

Generally the minimum size of excavation is to be 1 metre by 1 metre.

Sewer Infrastructure

What are the signs of a broken sewer pipe?

The signs of a broken sewer pipe include:

  • Persistent sewage blockages and backups
  • Mould problems
  • Sewage odour
  • Slow drain
  • Indentation in the lawn
  • Foundation cracks
How deep are sewer pipes in NSW?

Sewer mains are designed dependent on gravity flow and as such the depth of sewer pipes is variable between locations.

Can you build over Sydney sewers?

You cannot build over sewer maintenance assets in Sydney as they must remain accessible at all times. Structures must be built a minimum of 1.5 metres away. Building over sewage pipes is generally acceptable, though it is dependent on the depth of the pipe and the intended depth of the structure.

How is sewage moved?

Sewage water moves through pipes towards local treatment plants where it is purified and treated. Most sewer systems rely on gravity to move the wastewater to where it needs to go.

What is a sewer junction?

A sewer junction is the connection between a consumer’s sewer and the sewer main.

What material is a sewer main constructed of?

Sewer mains can be made from bricks, vitrified clay or stoneware pipes, cement concrete pipes, cast iron pipes, steel pipes, and plastic pipes.

What is a sewage main?

The sewer main is the primary pipeline in the sewage system that runs under public streets and channels all the wastewater from people’s toilets, sinks, showers and drains.

What is a PE sewer pipe?

PE, or polyethylene, is a thermoplastic material that has high impact strength, ensuring resistance to the effects of external damage.

What is the difference between PVC and PE pipe?

PVC and PE are two common materials used for plumbing applications. PVC pipes tend to be cheaper and easier to connect, whereas PE pipes can withstand higher pressures and temperatures.

Where does sewage go in Sydney?

Sydney has 28 wastewater treatment plants where sewage is sent to be treated and, where possible, recycled. Treated wastewater that is not recycled is sent into rivers or oceans.

What is the minimum fall for sewage pipes?

The minimum grade of fall for sewer pipes in Australia is 1.65%.

Sewer Encasement

How much does it cost to encase a sewer?

There are 5 factors that affect the price of a sewer encasement:

  1. Encasement length
  2. Ground conditions
  3. Depth of the existing sewer main
  4. What the existing main is made of
  5. Site access

Request a quote today at Fluid Services.

Is pipe relining worth it?

It is dependent upon your situation, but pipe relining has a lot of benefits and is an excellent method of pipe repair. It is more cost-effective than pipe replacement and in most cases can be completed in a day.

What is sewer encasement?

Sewer encasement is where the sewer pipe is excavated out and replaced by a U-PVC pipe. Concrete is then poured around the pipe, at least 150mm all the way around. This provides strength and protection to the pipe.

Sewer Sidelines

What is a sewer sideline?

A sewer sideline is a new section of pipe that is constructed off of the sewer main and extended to service a property which is not located close enough to the sewer main itself.

Are water lines and sewer lines the same?

No. Water lines carry water using pressure to the point of delivery (e.g. the tap, a shower, the hose), whereas sewer lines carry wastewater from buildings to the sewer line using gravity flow.

Wastewater Construction

What are the 2 types of wastewater?

In NSW we classify wastewater into two categories; greywater and blackwater. Greywater is household water from baths, showers, and hand basins. Blackwater is from toilets.

What happens to Sydney wastewater?

Sydney has 28 wastewater treatment plants where sewage is sent to be treated and, where possible, recycled. Treated wastewater that is not recycled is sent into rivers or oceans.

What is the difference between wastewater and sewage?

Sewage is a sub-product of wastewater that includes liquid waste from your toilet and laundry.

What are the three major components of a wastewater system?

There are three main stages to the wastewater treatment process; primary, secondary, and tertiary.

During the primary stage wastewater is held in a settling tank where heavier solids sink to the bottom while lighter solids float to the surface. During the secondary stage biofiltration and aeration occur. Finally during the tertiary stage the quality of the water is raised to domestic and industrial standards.

Potable Water Infrastructure

What is potable water?

Potable water refers to water that is safe enough to drink.

Does Sydney water need to be filtered?

Sydney uses modern water filtration and desalination plants which ensure that tap water meets the strict standard of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Further filtration is not necessary.

How does water become potable?

Water from catchments is treated by screening, floculation, filtration, and disinfection. This process removes small and large particles from the water and uses chlorine to destroy harmful bacteria and pathogens.

Recycled Water Infrastructure

What do we use recycled water for?

In Sydney, recycled water is used for flushing toilets, washing clothes and outdoor uses such as watering gardens.

Is it safe to drink recycled water?

Recycled water from a purple tap or pipe in greater Sydney can’t be used for drinking or cooking.

Does Sydney use recycled water?

Yes. In Sydney, recycled water is used for flushing toilets, washing clothes and outdoor uses such as watering gardens.

Where is water recycled in Australia?

There are 14 water recycling plants across Sydney.

Stormwater Works

How does a storm drain work?

Stormwater runoff flows off of hard surfaces such as roofs or driveways and into drains. These lead to larger stormwater catchments. Stormwater systems are eventually discharged into rivers and the ocean.

What type of pipe is used for stormwater?

Stormwater pipes are generally made of PVC.

How do you manage stormwater runoff?

There are a number of ways to manage stormwater runoff. You can add plants to areas where runoff collects, consider adding more trees to help divert water over larger areas, replace concrete slabs with bricks or pavers that allow water to soak in between them, choose a permeable material for paths such as gravel or mulch.

How can we help?

We’d love the opportunity to work as your water infrastructure construction partner be it wastewater construction, sewer encasements or sewer sideline constructions. Get in touch today.