Who is responsible for stormwater pipe repairs?
While a seemingly simple question “Who is responsible for stormwater pipe repairs?” can actually be very difficult to answer. The issue lies in understanding where private pipes end and public ones begin, what governing body is responsible for stormwater in your suburb and what type of residence you find yourself in.
While a convoluted question to try and answer we have tried to simplify the issue and provide a clear guide to understanding when you might be responsible for footing the bill for your stormwater problem.
Who is responsible for public stormwater pipe maintenance and repair?
Public stormwater pipes are any that service multiple residences, buildings or businesses. They usually lie beneath the road or footpath and are meant to pass a high volume of water.
In Sydney the major provider of public stormwater infrastructure is Sydney Water, which covers most of the greater city area in its water catchment plan.
According to Sydney Water they will provide maintenance and repairs to any of its public stormwater pipes, and also any private water pipes between the point of connection to their main water pipe and up to a meter inside your private property boundary.
Some exceptions include:
- The connection must be authorised
- They must be able to access your pipe
- The damage was not deliberate or negligent
- The private pipe was installed in accordance to the proper policies
If a private resident doesn’t want to wait for Sydney Water to fix the length of pipe between the main and one meter inside the property boundary they may also do so at their own expense at any time.
What if my suburb lies outside of Sydney Water’s catchment area?
If a residence or business lies outside of the catchment area of Sydney Water it will most likely still follow a similar repair policy, however, for more information on specific stormwater policies for suburbs that lie outside of Sydney Water’s catchment areas you should contact your local council.
Who is responsible for stormwater pipe repairs inside a residential building?
All buildings have a body corporate that is responsible for the maintenance and repair of shared infrastructure. However, sometimes it can be difficult to tell when shared infrastructure starts and private responsibility begins.
While each building has its own set of policies, in general the standard set of understandings are that:
- Any pipe that is within the boundary walls of the apartment that services just the apartment will be the responsibility of the private resident.
- Any pipe that services multiple apartments will be the responsibility of the body corporate, even if it lies within the boundaries of a private residence.
- Any exterior pipes that are beyond the boundary walls of private apartments will be the responsibility of the body corporate.
What are private residents responsible for?
Private residents are generally responsible for any stormwater pipes that lie within the boundary of their residence and service just their residence and no other house, apartment or building. To understand whether a particular pipe fits this profile might be difficult and if in doubt you should talk to your local council, body corporate or Sydney Water representative.