Under the streets, towns and villages of the Shoalhaven there are two main underground systems which carry our unwanted water, the sewerage system and the stormwater system.
How do I know the difference between sewer and stormwater drainage?
Sewer (or wastewater) is the used water that comes from your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, sinks or other plumbing components in your home. Sewerage systems collect, treat and dispose of the sewage from our homes and businesses.
Stormwater systems are made up of gutters, downpipes, pits and drains which collects any water which runs off a site due to rainfall. These pipes and drains connect to your roof, driveway, garden, paths and roads. Stormwater should never be plumbed into the sewer system as this can cause serious overflows. Stormwater systems manage rainwater run-off from our streets and roofs.
These two systems are supposed to be separate and when stormwater gets into the sewerage system the extra water can lead to an overflow of diluted raw sewage. Overflows are a serious source of pollution, a potential health risk and a nuisance to both the community and Council.
There are two ways for stormwater to get into the sewerage system:
- Infiltration – usually caused by cracked or broken underground pipes which can be difficult to detect; and
- Inflow – a direct flow of rainwater usually from an illegal roofing downpipe that has been directly connected to the sewerage system.