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Shared sewer pipes are common in older suburbs of Sydney. When the pipes get blocked it is a big task to identify the location


Fixing share sewer pipe blockages in Sydney suburbs like Lilyfield

Lilyfield is one of the suburbs in Sydney that has a large number of ‘workers cottages’ which use shared sewer systems and piping. In recent years property investors have been keen to capitalise on the suburb’s proximity to the Sydney CBD and developed many of the original workers’ cottages. Although they haven’t been able to improve the shared sewage given the proximity to other properties and the cost involved.


Lilyfield is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, in New South Wales, about six kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. It was originally a working-class area although it is now increasingly gentrified.  Although predominantly middle class, the suburb still retains some of its working-class roots and like its neighbouring suburbs, is home to people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Quiet by nature, Lilyfield’s working-class roots underpin its community-centred vibe. 


Nu-Trend provides blocked pipe repair services to suburbs like Lilyfield, Leichardt, Five Dock and surrounding inner west suburbs. Nu-Trend is actually a qualified plumber and bathroom plumbing renovation company so you only need to deal with one service contractor.


“Nu-Trend diagnosed and repaired a 100 year old sewer collapse shared between nine houses in the Inner West. It was a complex job spanning multiple properties and the sewer diagram provided by Sydney Water was outdated and wrong.
Rick and his team gave clear quotes that allowed all our neighbours and council to understand exactly what was required.
They listed up-front the possibility of extra costs for things they might find when they excavated. (These were not needed but it was reassuring to know exactly what we might be up for – no surprises).
They documented all their work in images, video and writing. Phone and e-mail communication was excellent and they arrived exactly when they said they would across the multiple days of this job.
I could not recommend them more highly for a challenging job like this one.”


Learn more about why pipes get blocked & how you can avoid it from happening.

What is a shared sewer & what is needed to get it unblocked?

water leak or blocked shared sewer in Sydney

A shared sewer line is considered a “common” sewer line that runs through a number of properties, it could even be ten houses that use one line. It is an old system of providing sewerage services to houses and can be quite problematic in Sydney when the pipe gets blocked


Where there isn’t great access to a direct connection it means the property has to share a common main line. There are a number of disadvantages to this;

  1. Your sewer can be running through someone else’s front or rear yard.

  2. Even though your house may not be effected by a blockage or a collapsed junction point, it is considered a common line so all houses are responsible, similar to a set up for town houses.

For the property owners in Lilyfield they began noticing sewerage water  building up and they were getting some really bad smells in their home. They called Nu-Trend to try and detect the drain blockage.


Using a Sewer Service Diagram from Sydney Water we could determine which properties shared the pipe and its location in relation to the property boundaries. The diagram shows the common line through all the properties and helps us diagnose where the sewer is running that helps us look for inspection openings for high pressure water jet blasting or CCTV pipe camera inspection access.


We managed to local a collapse in the piping but at the same time we uncovered other underlying issues.


To unblock a shared sewer becomes a process of elimination because we are able to use our CCTV digital cameras to inspect the pipes or when the lines are cleared, but there could be other blockages. So it means checking all the way along the shared sewer to be sure.


In blocked sewer pipe situation we had to dig up the 6 inch terracotta pipe that was blocked, but then found more underlying collapses and these could be under living room tiled floors running under the house.

Sydney Water Sewer Service Diagram used to fix blocked pipes in Sydney by Nu-Trend

Be careful of cheap blocked pipe repairs in Sydney.

Company that can fix a shared sewer pipe in Lilyfield photo

Property owners might get excited if the blocked pipe repair company just shows you the one issue that gets fixed and it is a cheap cost to fix. What the repair company might not be telling you is whether there are other issues along the line that will cause issues later on.


Their short term blocked pipe repair may cause further damage later & you are also doubling your labour costs to have it inspected.


That is why Nu-Trend makes sure we check for other underlying issues before leaving a repair job. We believe a property owner should be given the full picture.


Many underground pipe issues are noticed when there is a blockage somewhere in the property. Blockages must be cleared before drainage problems are investigated and you should contact a qualified Sydney plumber to get this done properly.


Signs might include;

  • sink overflowing
  • Waste coming out of an inspection chamber (used for sewer access by inspectors)
  • A toilet emptying very slowly
  • Foul smells that don’t go away
  • Dirty water, toilet paper or sewage coming up on to land
  • Water escaping from an underground pipe and washing away soil
  • Repeated blockings may be the sign of damaged pipes that need to be repaired.


Property owners are responsible for maintaining water and wastewater pipes or equipment up to where they connect to Sydney Water systems and this includes;

  • private water and wastewater pipes and fixtures
  • backflow prevention devices
  • pumps used to boost water pressure in private water pipes
  • flow restriction devices on low pressure water services
  • wastewater pumps, tanks and other equipment (unless we have an additional services agreement with you that says we’ll maintain it)
  • trade wastewater treatment equipment
  • fire services
  • extended private services and private water mains
  • joint private services and encroaching private services.

More Information

Learn more about plumbing or bathroom renovations

Rick Karagiannis - Plumber & Bathroom Renovator

Rick Karagiannis - Plumber & Bathroom Renovator

Rick Karagiannis is a licensed Plumber, Building Renovator and Director of Nu-Trend, a Sydney Plumber and Bathroom Renovations contractor. Nu-Trend has been operating since 2009 as an independent sole trader in Sydney. Rick provides all types of services for small bathroom renovations, leaking tap repairs, hot water high-pressure jet blasting and more.

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