Sewer blockages and overflows

Sewer blockages and overflows

If you are experiencing a sewage overflow, please call our Customer Care Centre (open 24/7) on 1300 SA WATER (1300 729 283). We treat these cases as a priority and may need further information.

Sewer blockages usually occur when there is something restricting proper flow in wastewater pipes. Common causes include:

  • tree roots
  • fat, oil or grease build-ups
  • foreign objects
  • sewer line collapse.

In rare cases, sewer blockages can result in sewage overflows in or near your property.

Preventing blockages in your pipes

All foreign objects have the potential to disrupt our wastewater system’s operation. Here are some ways to prevent blockages:

  • Selecting certain trees and shrubs for your garden can assist in preventing blockages. Our tree planting guide may help.
  • Place wet wipes in the bin rather than flushing them after use.

Wet wipes are a problem for the wastewater industry. These moist cloths are often used for personal hygiene; however, they are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. While toilet paper breaks down in around 30 seconds, wet wipes don’t easily disintegrate in the wastewater system. As well as the costs involved in removing them from the wastewater system, wet wipes can damage your plumbing and cause environmental issues, such as overflows to creeks and waterways.

What to do if you experience a sewer blockage

If you have a sewer blockage in the sewerage pipes on your property, we suggest you contact a licensed plumber to investigate further. You can find a local licensed plumber, who is also a member of the Master Plumbers Association, at or by calling 8292 4000

If your plumber finds a blockage is in our infrastructure, they will contact our Customer Service Centre to have the problem fixed. Plumbers are not allowed to work on any of our infrastructure. If you (or they) think the sewer blockage is in SA Water's pipes, report a fault using our Faults and outages map. We will ask you some questions to work out the likely location and cause of the problem. We will organise someone from our team to attend the property and clear the blockage.

Making a sewer blockage claim

Plumbers make sewer blockage claims on behalf of their customers. To claim, your plumber must have:

  • attended your property to fix a sewer blockage
  • found that the problem is in SA Water's infrastructure
  • called SA Water to report the blockage
  • received a job number that relates to your call.

How to make a claim

Provide this information to your plumber if they are not sure how to apply for the claim.

  1. Complete the Plumbers Claim reimbursement form - this must be done while at the property. Plumbers will need to get the customer's signature before lodging the claim.
  1. Attach a copy of an invoice for the approved reimbursement amount. The invoice must be on the plumber’s company letterhead. (Reimbursement amounts are listed on the second page of the claim form.)
  1. Within 60 days of the work being performed, lodge the claim with us via email ( or by post to:

SA Water Customer Connections and Service Centre – Plumbers Claims 
GPO Box 1751 ADELAIDE SA 5001

Your claim will be processed within 20 days from the date of invoice. If the claim is not eligible, we will return it to you with further information.