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Sewer Main Renewal Program

We maintain an ongoing program to rehabilitate sewer mains that are about to reach the end of their service life or are at risk of blockage. This helps ensure our wastewater network can continue to reliably serve our community. These works have already reduced the risk of sewer blockages throughout Canberra. 

Access to your property

We may need to access sewer manholes on your property prior to and during rehabilitation works. 

We will send affected residents a letter once a sewer main’s renewal is confirmed – this may be several months before the work begins. Residents will receive another letter at least seven days prior to access being required.   

Our contractors (Pipe Replacement Solutions (PRS) and Interflow) will provide written notification three days prior to work starting on your street. A courtesy letter will be left if we are unable to access your property.

Following works, in cases where we need to return to complete restoration, we will leave a card confirming our intention to return. We will always endeavour to return the areas in which we work to a condition as close as possible to the original condition.

If customers have any concerns about how an area may be affected, we encourage them to talk to us prior to the commencement of our works. 

How is the work done?

Sewer main rehabilitation will be carried out by pipe bursting or pipe lining techniques.

Pipe bursting involves pulling a new polyethylene pipe through an existing vitreous clay or concrete pipe with the aid of a bursting head. As the bursting head is pushed, using either pneumatic or hydraulic hammer, the existing pipe cracks and creates space for the new pipe. A new pipeline can then be installed within the existing alignment, without needing to excavate the whole pipe alignment. 

Pipe lining involves inserting and then expanding a PVC liner inside the existing sewer main. The new liner, when fully installed, is a standalone structural pipe. Some noise will be generated by the installation machinery during this process. Works will be undertaken between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm on working days. 

We have engaged Pipe Replacement Solutions (PRS) and Interflow to undertake these works. Their staff will be carrying Icon Water identification cards at all times. Works generally take four weeks, depending on the condition of the sewer main and weather.

Sewer tie replacement

The process may also involve replacement of your sewer tie (the point where your property’s sanitary drain connects to the length of sewer that is to be rehabilitated). This will be assessed following further investigation - our contractor will notify you if any excavation is required.

Sewer tie replacement may require an excavation of approximately one metre by two metres. The sewer tie is typically located just inside the boundary of your property and the whole operation can take a number of days. Your sewer connection will only be disrupted for an hour or two on a nominated day.  

How you can help

We recommend deferring non-essential internal plumbing works (such as plumbing renovations) during the works. Remove any access obstructions from the sewer manhole if one is located within your block. Ensure all external grates are easily removed and free from obstruction. If possible, keep pets inside while the works are being completed. 

Please keep your toilet lids down, in case of negative pressure. Negative pressure may draw the water from toilets or drains back into the sewer mains. If this should happen, flush your toilets and drains with water to prevent odour from escaping. 

It is important that you take care regarding what goes down your drains. To prevent blockages only the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper – should be flushed.

Our obligations to you

Under the Utilities Act 2000, we must take all reasonable steps to minimise damage and restore land as soon as practicable to a condition similar to its condition before operations began. We are not required to restore land to a condition that would interfere with our network or facilities. 

Talk to us  

For general enquiries you can contact us between 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, by dialling 02 6248 3111 and selecting option 3. You can also email us at any time. In the event of a fault or emergency please call 02 6248 3111 and select option 1. 

We thank you for your patience and cooperation throughout this important program. Please respect our assets and staff so that we can continue to provide the highest quality water and wastewater services to the ACT.