Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Stormwater on your property

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Stormwater on your property

Private property owners' responsibilities

Private property owners must maintain stormwater pipes, gutters, downpipes, gully pits and any other components of drainage systems in good condition, and in compliance with Council requirements. This includes maintenance of the stormwater system on the property as well as any connection to Council's stormwater system.

When redirecting and/or concentrating stormwater flows, property owners are required to collect the stormwater and direct it to a legal point of discharge.

Legal points of discharge

The property owner is responsible for connection of a property's stormwater system to a legal point of discharge.

The Building Code of Australia provides technical standards for all aspects of building. With relation to stormwater the Building Code of Australia references Australian Standard AS/NZ 3500 Plumbing and drainage.

Australian Standard AS/NZ 3500.3 states that roof water and surface water should be collected and discharged through underground pipes to legal points of discharge including:

  • Council's public drainage system including the roadside kerb and gutter
  • Inter-allotment drainage systems

Where a property slopes to the road, typically a new connection is installed to the roadside kerb and gutter. When installing a new connection across Council's footpath to the gutter, the person undertaking the works is required to gain approval from Council. The "Application for Road Opening Permit" form is available on our forms page, under the "Roads and Footpaths" category.

Where a property slopes away from the road an easement to drain through neighbouring properties to Council's public drainage system is typically required. In this case the owner is responsible for negotiations with the neighbouring owners to establish an easement. A drainage easement generally incorporates a drainage pipe, and may also include an overland flow path.

Stormwater may not be discharged to the sewer.

Depending on the circumstances, fines up to $20,000 may be issued for illegal connections.

Redirecting and/or concentrating of overland flow

Usually, stormwater runoff occurs when water flows along a natural gradient over properties on its way to a watercourse. Changes to overland flow on private properties may occur when:

  • carrying out earthworks including excavation or fill;
  • constructing retaining walls, drains or other structures;
  • carrying out paving or landscaping; or
  • collecting rainwater from the roof.

If any change to the overland flow path occurs on a property, the stormwater runoff should be collected and directed to a legal point of discharge.

The redirection and/or concentration of stormwater flows onto neighbouring properties may constitute a ‘nuisance' at common law, giving affected owners a legal right of redress.

A property owner cannot be held liable when surface or seepage water flows naturally onto an adjoining property. However, a property owner may be held liable through civil action between private owners, if the actions undertaken cause or are likely to cause damage to property.

Problem solving between neighbours

Problems with overland stormwater flow between neighbouring properties are generally a matter to be resolved between the respective owners. Landowners are encouraged to talk to their neighbours about the problem and seek a mutually satisfactory solution.

Council has limited powers to intervene in disputes. If a neighbours actions have caused stormwater flows to damage your property, and talking to your neighbour has failed to reach a solution, contact Council's Customer Service Centre on (02) 9392 5000 and ask to talk to Monitoring Services.

If resolution can't be reached, the NSW government Community Justice Centres provides a non-legal mediation service. They may be able to assist without the need for expensive legal proceedings. Contact the centre on 1800 990 777.

For more information visit the centre's website at www.cjc.nsw.gov.au/cjc/com_justice_index.html

WSUD on your property

Council encourages residents to learn about and apply water sensitive urban design in the management of their properties. Visit this page for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Council have records of the stormwater system on my property?

Council maintains records of its stormwater assets which can be provided on request when required but does not maintain records of private stormwater systems.

My house does not have a stormwater outlet to the road gutter. What can I do?

The property owner is responsible for connecting property drainage to Council's stormwater system. If you need to connect your stormwater system to the road gutter, an Approval to Excavate Council Roads and Footpaths Application Form is available on Council's website.

My property has a seepage problem. What can I do?

Seepage water or ground water is the responsibility of the property owners. In the first instance it is recommended to get advice from an experienced plumber. If possible, seepage drains should be created to direct water to the Council stormwater system.

What is natural overland flow?

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

What is concentrated overland flow?

Concentrated overland flow is water that flows from hardstand areas such as driveways, paths, paved areas, landscaped areas, roofs, drains from roofs, open drains and cut off drains. A property owner must consider the consequences of water run off when constructing hardstand areas as these can impact on adjacent properties.

A neighbour is discharging stormwater onto my property. What can I do?

Landowners are encouraged to talk to their neighbours about the problem and seek a mutually satisfactory solution.

Council has limited powers to intervene in disputes. If a neighbours actions have caused stormwater flows to damage your property, and talking to your neighbour has failed to reach a solution, contact Council's Customer Service Centre on (02) 9392 5000 and ask to talk to Monitoring Services.

How can I tell if my property is flood affected?

Section 2.22 of the Marrickville Development Control Plan (DCP) provides a description of flood affected areas within the Marrickville LGA and relevant development controls. The DCP is available on Council's website.

Not all of Council's flood affected properties are currently mapped as Council has not undertaken flood studies in all areas. Council also has some flood studies that are currently in draft edition or have not yet been formally adopted.

More Information

This is one of three pages providing information on stormwater management for residents and businesses in the former Marrickville local government area. The three pages are:

If your queries about stormwater are not answered by these pages, please call Council's Customer Service Centre on (02) 9392 5000, who will provide advice on the problem or refer the issue to an appropriate Council officer.