Blocked Drain Information
Who Is Responsible for a Blocked Sewer Line in Sydney?
The Sydney Water Corporation owns, maintains and is responsible for clearing blockages within its own sewer Wastewater System (Sewer Main Line) and is responsible for nearly 27,000 kilometres of public wastewater pipes while homeowners own another 20,000 kilometres of private wastewater pipes within the Sydney, Illawarra and Blue Mountains area. Sydney Water provides homeowners with a point of connection (junction) to Sydney Waters Sewer Main Line for each property. Where your private sewer pipes connect to the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line can be located anywhere on or off your property - In your front yard, back yard, side of house, in your neighbours' property, parkland, reserve, bushland, under the footpath or road or other public area. The homeowner owns all of their private wastewater pipes and therefore is responsible for any maintenance, blocked drain clearing, repairs or renewals needed to maintain a proper functioning private wastewater system to AS/NZS 3500* standards including all internal branch drains under the home and all external main drains that run all the way to and including the point of connection with the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line even if that point of connection is beyond the property owner's land boundaries. If a blockage is anywhere within a private sewer line, it is the homeowner's responsibility to contact a Licenced Plumber to clear the blockage in their sewer pipes. If you are not sure if the blockage is in your private sewer pipes or Sydney Waters wastewater System, call Sydney Water directly on 13 20 90 and they will ask you some simple questions to help you identify the location of the blockage. You can also use the following links to the Sydney Water website for more detailed information on wastewater blockages and general plumbing information.
*The AS/NZS 3500 series of Plumbing and Drainage Standards play an integral part in setting out design and installation requirements for plumbing and drainage systems both in Australia and New Zealand.
Tree Root Blockages and Plumbers Up-Selling
We get many calls from homeowners looking for advice because they believe they have been taken advantage of by a Plumbing business they have employed to clear their blocked drains.
Interesting fact: Most people getting themselves into trouble with tradespeople are simply uninformed.
Sneaky Plumbers up-selling expensive drainage repairs and pipe relining work prey on unsuspecting and uninformed homeowners experiencing tree root blockages. They will only provide a lower price for a simple waste blockage (the bait) as they do not intend to carry out proper root cutting to clear your drain properly and may also substitute the root cutting process in their advertising with a suggestion of a permanent solution instead. That is fine, if in fact you are looking for a permanent solution, however most homeowners are not, and just want their drains cleared properly which means, if possible, removing all tree roots from all drains on every call. These Plumbing businesses have contempt for their customers, engage in misleading and deceptive conduct, make false representations about the Plumbing industry, "bait" uninformed homeowners with ridiculous "offers too good to be true" and "special deals" and pay their licensed Plumbers and unlicensed "technicians" (salesmen) commissions and bonuses to peddle their blocked drain scams.
To hard sell or coerce the homeowner into the drain repair or pipe relining work they first must gain access to your property and your trust. This is normally achieved by "baiting" the unsuspecting homeowner online or over the phone with an "offer too good to be true" which is usually a cheap price, a special deal or making false or misleading claims about the drain clearing process, which means their intent starts elsewhere and some time before they knock on your door. Once on your property the Plumbers will attempt to switch from the drain clearing service you think you are getting costing hundreds of dollars to a drainage repair or pipe relining service costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars by trying to prove to you that the drain cannot be cleared, the tree root intrusions cannot be removed or your drains are too badly damaged so it is too dangerous to put their root cutting equipment into your drains by showing you the devastation inside your sewer pipes with their drain camera. This means "not" removing the tree roots to create a bigger impact on their customer is the desired result for the Plumber. Unfortunately, it is at this point you cannot win, and the Plumber cannot loose, regardless of your decision. You must either accept the expensive drain repair, or you decline the repair, the Plumber leaves with hundreds of dollars of your money for a substandard drain clearing service, which explains the "cheap price" or "special deal", you are left with a drain still full of tree roots and another blockage just moments around the corner. Meanwhile, the Plumber has moved onto their next victim who also thinks they are getting a "special deal" to get their drains cleared. Let's be clear, it's not opportunism, it's premeditated, so we will just call them scumbags.
All Plumbers who clear blocked drains come across tree roots that cannot be removed or blockages that cannot be cleared for one reason or another and that has always been a part of the blocked drain clearing business, however for honest Plumbers who clear blocked drains properly it is a rare occurrence, not on every call. Our policy is to arrive at your home with the sole purpose of only providing the service we have been asked to supply, clearing your blocked drain thoroughly, removing all tree roots if possible and providing professional advice. We do not up-sell unsolicited services so any discussion regarding drainage repairs will need to be initiated by our customer, not us.
We are just not wired that way, probably because we are old school, or shock horror, we are just honest. We either clear your drain properly or quite frankly, we are not interested, and anyone foolishly looking for an "offer too good to be true", is unlikely to find it here. From our experience we have found the most susceptible homeowners to these types of plumbing scams are "price shoppers" or "deal hunters". To avoid being ripped off by ridiculous "offers too good to be true", blatant "bait advertising", unrealistic "cheap prices" or fake "special deals" is easy, stop looking for them. Honest contractors providing quality services at a realistic price do not run scams on their customers and simply have no interest in advertising that way. (TINSTAAFL)
Interesting fact: To reline a drain, all the pipes must be totally clear and clean, and all tree roots must be removed, meaning you cannot reline a blocked drain with tree roots still in it. If you have been told that your drains need relining because the drain cannot be cleared or tree roots cannot be removed, just realise that before they reline your drains for thousands of dollars, they will have to completely "clear and clean the drain" and "remove all the tree roots!" and correct me if I am wrong but isn't that exactly what the Plumber was called in to do!
Interesting fact: No one can see inside a blocked drain full of dirty sewer water! Camera surveying a blocked drain full of dirty sewer water is no different than putting goggles on and sticking your head in a bucket of mud, so inserting a drain camera into a "blocked drain" achieves nothing other than deceiving the customer! CCTV drain cameras are a "visual aid" designed for Plumbers to "see" inside "clear" pipes that are buried underground after the drain has been cleared, so they only work in "clear drains" not "blocked drains" so, Step-1: Assessment, Step-2: Water jetting, Step-3: CCTV drain inspection, it has been that way for nearly 40 years! Watch this video of us putting a drain camera down a blocked sewer line.
So why do many Plumbing businesses say in their advertising that the first thing they do when they arrive at your home is to insert their drain camera down your "blocked drain"? They advertise these lies to "bait" homeowners by leading their customer to believe they can see the blockage inside their drains underground and so determine the cause of the blockage before they do any drain clearing work which will enable them to quote an "upfront fixed price" for the work, this is a lie! For any contractor to be able to supply their customer with an upfront fixed price quotation for anything they must be able to see exactly what it is they will be working on in its entirety so they can gather enough information about the issue to be able to intelligently and accurately quote a price for the work. Just realise that if a contractor claims they can provide you with an upfront fixed price for anything that is concealed and cannot be seen by you or the contractor such as a blocked drain you are about to be scammed! "All" blocked drain scams revolve around "up front, fixed prices".