What you need to know to stay safe\r\n

Though we do our best to stop wastewater overflows before they happen, we can’t always prevent them. Please stay clear of the area and keep yourself safe. Until the wastewater blockage is cleared and the area cleaned up, any overflow poses a risk to the community and the environment. So, if you see a wastewater overflow, please report it.

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Do what our warning signs say\r\n

Stay clear of wastewater overflows by obeying our warning signs. It's the most important thing you can do to stay safe.

  • Stay away from areas that are obviously affected by wastewater overflow.
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  • Don’t swim or go fishing in an affected waterway.
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  • Don’t drink the water from an affected waterway.
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  • Pay special attention to children and pets.
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  • Keep away from machinery, hosing and other equipment we’re using to clean up.
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  • Keep away from overflowing access chambers or maintenance holes.
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  • 远离明显受废水溢出影响的区域。
  • 不要在受影响的水道游泳或钓鱼。
  • 不要饮用受污染水道的水。
  • 要特别注意孩子和宠物。
  • 远离机器,软管和其他我们用来清洁的设备。
  • 远离溢出的检修室或检修孔。

Understand why overflows happen \r\n

Wastewater, or sewage, comes from our sinks, showers and toilets. It is transported through our sewerage pipes for treatment. Wastewater overflows happen when something is in the pipe to cause wastewater blockages. There are 3 common causes:

  • tree roots that find their way into the pipes
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  • foreign matter like wet wipes, facial tissues and hygiene products flushed in toilets (anything other than pee, poo and paper), and fats, oils and grease poured into sinks 
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  • stormwater that overloads the wastewater network during heavy rain.
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The blockage prevents the flow of wastewater, which backs up and can overflow out of a maintenance hole. This can occur anywhere there are wastewater pipes: in bushland, in waterways, in a park, on the street or in your own backyard.

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  • 树根它们会进入管道
  • 异物比如湿巾,面巾纸和卫生用品在厕所冲水(除了尿、便便和纸以外的任何东西),以及倒进水槽的脂肪、油和油脂
  • 雨水这会在大雨期间使污水管网超载。





Be aware of the risks\r\n

It’s important to avoid areas impacted by a sewage overflow and to keep children and pets away from them. Here's why:

  • Sewage contains harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa. These can cause illnesses like gastroenteritis if you have direct contact with sewage or surfaces contaminated by sewage. 
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  • There may be additional danger from heavy equipment and moving vehicles while we do essential repairs.
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Sewage that overflows to the environment can also harm sensitive species of flora and fauna. 

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  • 污水中含有有害微生物,如细菌病毒而且原生动物.如果你直接接触污水或被污水污染的表面,就会导致胃肠炎等疾病。
  • 可能会有额外的危险重型设备而且行驶车辆在我们做基本维修的时候。


We'll let you know when it's safe\r\n

You can be sure the area is safe when we remove our signs and barricades.


We use NATA-accredited labs to sample and test waterways. We test throughout the clean-up, and we continue cleaning until the lab results prove that the site has been effectively cleaned. This can take longer in bushland or natural areas. Our clean-up efforts are regulated by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and NSW Health.


Once we’ve physically cleaned the site, and contaminated surfaces are dry and exposed to sunlight, dangerous levels of microorganisms will be gone. The area will be safe to enjoy again.

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Our process to manage wastewater overflows\r\n

The process we follow to manage wastewater overflow incidents is agreed by regulators:

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1  The sewage overflow is reported to Sydney Water.


2  A technician goes to the site to verify sewage overflow and assess the impact on both community safety and the environment.


3  We install containment immediately to stop the overflow from travelling further. We also put up signs and barricades to keep the community informed and safe.


4  The choke crew clears the blockage in the pipe using a high-pressure water jetter.


5  The clean-up crew removes all sewage solids and liquids. It then cleans up the impacted area.


6  Signs and barricades won't be removed until we've completed important checks. The clean-up leader walks the site to verify the clean-up is complete. Then an environmental specialist takes water samples for laboratory assessment – their lab sample confirms the site is back to its pre-overflow condition. 


7  The wastewater overflow is resolved and the site is back to normal.

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You can find out more about the process in the Sydney Water Network Pollution Incident Response Management Plan (PIRMP) (422KB).

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