Legal points of discharge

Owner’s responsibilities

You are required by law to maintain the stormwater pipes, gutters, downpipes, stormwater pits and any other components of your approved stormwater drainage system in a good condition and in compliance with the Plumbing Code of Australia requirements. You are required to accept natural overland flow from adjoining properties or public land and must not divert or redirect the flow from its natural path onto neighbouring properties. A downstream property owner cannot erect any type of barrier that interferes with the path of stormwater unless provision is made for the flow to discharge to an approved drainage system. If you are downstream, you must accept the ‘natural’ run-off onto your property. When constructing hardstand areas e.g. driveways, concrete and paved areas, landscaping and any other impervious surfaces or drains you must control the stormwater in order to prevent concentrated flows onto the adjacent property.

Council’s responsibilities

Where possible, Council provides roads and drainage systems to collect and convey stormwater to creeks and rivers. They also maintain the stormwater mains owned by Council on private property. Council may direct a property owner to connect to Council’s stormwater drainage system or other LPOD, if available and practical to do so. The Urban Drainage Act 2013 makes provision for the control of stormwater and Council may issue property owners with a written notice if they are in breach of this act.

Disputes between neighbours

Problems with overland stormwater flows between neighbours are generally a civil matter to be resolved between the respective land owners. It is advisable for the respective land owners to discuss the situation with the view of a mutually agreeable solution. Council has limited powers to intervene.

Types of Flows

Natural Overland Flow

Natural overland flow is water that flows across properties before any excavation, development or building on the land. An upstream property owner cannot be held liable merely because the surface and seepage water flows naturally from the land onto the lower land of a neighbour.

The upstream owner may be liable if the water is made to flow in a more concentrated form than would naturally flow. Run-off should be directed to the street or to an internal drainage system if provided

Concentrated Overland Flow

Concentrated overland flow is water that flows from hard stand areas e.g. driveways, paths, paved areas, landscaped areas roofs, drains from roofs, open drains and cut-off drains. A property owner must ensure that stormwater is not discharged from a private stormwater system so that it causes a nuisance to a neighbouring property or its residents.

Seepage Water (Ground Water)

Seepage water is the responsibility of individual property owners and should be controlled by the installation of seepage drains. Where sloping blocks have been excavated to obtain a flat yard of building site, seepage drains should be constructed to redirect water to a stormwater drainage system.

Run-off from Public Land

You may experience drainage problems when stormwater runs off public land or roadways and forms ponds or flows through your property. All of these enquiries should be directed to Council’s Customer Service Department.

Stormwater from developments

If the flow is coming from a property under development your concerns should be directed to the Building Certifier assessing the development. Silt and stormwater control is a condition on all building permits.

New homes

If you are building a new home please check with your builder that:

  • Surface and soakage drains have been installed to protect rooms and garages built below ground level;
  • Surface drains and paths are diverting overland stormwater away from the building, especially the building entrances;
  • Driveways built on the topside of buildings do not concentrate stormwater towards the building, if so, ensure adequate drainage is provided.

If you have any doubt about these issues please feel free to discuss them with Council’s Plumbing Assessment Officer before any outside paving or landscaping has begun. These problems are easier to rectify before the work has been finished.