Skip to main content
Workers and an excavator

Odour management

Odour can come from several sources; potential causes include blockages in vents and pipes, dry traps (‘s’ shaped pipe), faults in our network such as dislodged lids, blockages, or overflow. At times, we find the source may not even relate to internal plumbing or our network. Odours can be from activities or sources other than the wastewater network, including local wetlands and waterways, waste storage areas, portaloos, commercial cooking and processing activities, pets and livestock and construction activities. Possible causes of odour in internal plumbing include:  

  • Dry odour traps:  

Odour traps store water and act like a barrier to stop odorous gases entering the home from the drainage system.  
If the trap becomes dry from drains not being used for a long time it can allow odour to travel from the drainage system into the home. Traps can also become dry if there this a crack in the pipework. If you have been away or not used a particular drain, try flushing it with water for a few minutes. If the odour persists, please call a licensed plumber.  The Master Plumbers ACT (MPA) lists a number of licensed plumbers in your local area.   

  • Blockages: 

A smelly drain can be a sign that things are not going away in your pipes. It’s easy for food and other organic material to get caught in kitchen pipes without us noticing. However, it becomes hard to ignore when the food and organic material start decomposing and attracting bacteria! Blockages can also be caused by hair, fats or grease, or inappropriate disposal of wet wipes or other non-flushable material into the plumbing system. Signs of blockage may also include:  

  • Toilets, basins, baths or tubs empty slowly  
  • Toilets that overflow or fill higher than usual  
  • Overflow Relief Gulleys (ORGs) or disconnector traps overflow when toilets are flushed or when baths or basins are released. 

If you have a blockage, in the first instance, call a licensed plumber. If the plumber believes the blockage is in the utility network, Icon Water must be contacted so our Maintenance Team can perform an onsite inspection and clear the blockage in our network. The plumber will then invoice us for costs associated with identifying the fault as per our plumbing reimbursement process. More information on blockages and avoiding them is available here

If you believe the odour relates to an issue on our network please call Faults and emergencies on 02 6248 3111 (select option 1). 

Icon Water takes all reported cases of odour seriously. Our approach is to work through a process of elimination to rule out sources until we confirm a cause and if on our network, assess solutions. The below information may be helpful to us in investigating your concerns: 

  • Where exactly are you noticing the odour? (e.g. Outside? Certain rooms of your house? Near drains? Near certain assets or fixtures?) 
  • If outside, have you noticed the wind direction? 
  • Is the smell present at all times? Only during certain times of the day?