Building near sewer and stormwater lines

The public sewer and stormwater systems are major assets, which Council is responsible for. Faults in these systems can cause substantial damage to property quite quickly, and damage can occur a long way from the problem in the pipe. Council needs to access all parts of the system in order to ensure the health and safety of its public. Access for inspection, maintenance and long-term renewal is critical, particularly at connection and access points. This means that buildings or other constructions should no be built over, or too close to sewer and stormwater mains.

In Council's Sewer and Stormwater policies, an encumbrance refers to anything that hinders access to or may damage any part of the public sewer and stormwater system. Some examples of potential encumbrances include:

  • Sheds, carports and pergolas
  • Retaining walls, barbecues, stone walls
  • Pools (in-ground and above-ground), storage tanks
  • Underground utilities (water, gas, power)
  • Fences, paving
  • Houses, habitable rooms
  • Landscaping that significantly changes the ground level

Private sewer and stormwater pipes (those that serve only the owner's property) are not subject to protection by these policies. However, plumbing approvals may impose certain restrictions, which are covered by the normal council approval process.

If you are planning on building a new structure, or if you have an existing structure encumbering a sewer or stormwater line, you are required to make an Application for a Determination regarding a Proposal to Encumber a Service Line and/or Easement. This application must be accompanied with details of the structure, including:

  • A sketch plan showing your proposed works, their position relative to the property boundaries and in easements, and their size
  • If available, architectural plans
  • Detailed structural designs of footings, and
  • Any other information that you think may assist your application
  • NOTE: The development proposal is required to obtain formal Development Approval through lodgement of a Development Application with Council, prior to any construction works being commenced. This build over permit does not constitute Development Consent, nor guarantee that a development application will be approved by Council once lodged. Each application will be assessed on its merits