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Blocked stormwater drain pipe replacement in Paddington

Blocked stormwater drain pipes in Sydney can occur for various reasons. This one collapsed so we replaced a section & relined the rest. See how we did it.

Should you repair or replace a blocked stormwater pipe in Paddington

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Anthony needed a licensed plumber in Sydney to figure out why he was constantly getting either blocked drains or overflowing stormwater outlets in his home on Glenmore road in Paddington. We arranged a suitable time to visit his home to begin an assessment of his stormwater drains, sewage pipe lines and drains to see what was getting blocked and where.

The first thing we did was do a complete CCTV camera pipe inspection so that we could see inside every part of his plumbing. Not only can we see what might be causing the blocked drains but we can also show the home owner so they can see for themselves what the issue might be.

Blocked pipes in Paddington is a pretty common problem that home owners experience because most of the structures were built more than 50 years ago. It is one of the oldest parts of Sydney and most of the homes have clay piping underneath them which are prone to crack or collapse as they try and handle modern life with people renovating, extending or even tree roots getting inside a system.

The most common causes of blocked drains or pipes in Paddington include;

  • Hair that can accumulate in pipes, particularly in drains from showers, sinks, and baths.
  • When grease and oil are poured down drains, they can solidify and cause blockages in pipes.
  • Food scraps and leftovers can accumulate in pipes and cause blockages, particularly in kitchen sinks.
  • Flushing excessive amounts of toilet paper or even baby wipes can cause blockages in pipes, especially if the pipes are old or have a small diameter.
  • Tree roots can penetrate pipes and cause blockages, particularly in older homes with damaged pipes.
  • Flushing non-degradable objects such as wipes, sanitary products, and nappies can cause blockages in pipes.

What was unusual though is for this home in Paddington their plumbing was actually plastic and was blocked with mud & dirt. This meant money had been spent to remove the old clay piping that is typically used for homes in this suburb of Sydney. Although, what they installed was cheap plastic material that also wasn’t installed properly with the right amount of protection around it. Over time it has caused sections of the stormwater pipe plumbing to crack, break & even collapse completely in a large section in the back yard. 

Using high pressure water jet blasting equipment we managed to partially clear the storm water line and remove the sand and ground fill that was inside the plumbing system. We ran the water jet blasting equipment for 2 hours upstream and downstream in attempt to push and pull as much of the ground fill out of the line as possible that was causing the blockage.

Once we had done this we did another pipe camera inspection and we found multiple cracks, collapses and breaks in the storm water line which started from the street outlet and continue through to the entry point under the house where the flooding was occuring. We provided all the photos to prove to Anthony there were major problems with his broken stormwater plumbing.

What is means is that during heavy rain the storm water line will constantly fill with sand, ground fill or small rocks that get in through the cracks and collapsed areas of the pipe work. Even people walking on the paving above can cause more cracks to form as the ground underneath is moving around. As the pipe work begins to collapse it forms small walls and barriers that any food, sand, rocks etc can catch on. Over time this builds up and causes a blockage. The water then backs up and you will see slow draining sinks, pooling water on the ground or even bad smells near your drains.

How do you fix this type of plumbing problem?

The ideal scenario is to replace the entire stormwater plumbing system using the right materials and correct techniques that would be Australian Standards Compliant. The difficulty though is half of the storm water line is under the house which would require excavation and isn’t very practical

The solution we came up with was;

  • Continue to water jet blast the lines to clear and remove as much of the sand and rock as possible, as far into the lines as we could reach. 
  • Use the CCTV camera to inspect the pipes as far under the house as possible so that we can diagnose which sections need urgent repair or replacement.
  • Work out a repair plan that includes replacing the most damaged sections of piping and then pipe relining the rest of the existing plumbing. Relining can be as good as a pipe replacement depending on the situation. 
  • Relining pipes requires the spraying of an adhesive to the internal walls of the pipe work. The only challenge with relining is having ideal access to all the damaged parts of the piping, in some situations it may not be possible to be done depending on gradients and connection types that are in the system.

Why it is a good idea to get a CCTV camera pipe inspection done by a licensed plumber in Paddington

Requesting to have a CCTV camera pipe inspection done in at your home is an effective way to make sure that a plumber does not lie or rip you off when they start offering repair solutions. This type of inspection involves inserting a CCTV camera into the pipes to inspect their condition and identify the cause of any blockages or leaks, the screen or even the photos taken can be shared immediately so that it is very clear what is causing the problem. 

We hear so many stories about crazy repair costs to fix a blocked drain, this is how you can avoid getting into problems and keep your blocked drain repair costs in Paddington at a reasonable level.

  1. Choose a reputable plumber to begin with. Start by choosing a plumber who has a good reputation and is known for providing honest and reliable services. You can ask for recommendations from friends and family or do research online to find a plumber with a good track record.
  2. Ask for a quote to understand how they normally price their services. Once you have chosen a plumber, ask for a detailed quote that includes the cost of the inspection, any additional equipment that may be needed, and the estimated time to complete the job. This will help you get a clear understanding of the costs involved and avoid any surprises later on.
  3. Review the inspection results: After the CCTV camera inspection, ask the plumber to provide you with a written report of their findings, including photos or videos of the inside of the pipes or look at the screen yourself. Review this information carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  4. Check for license credentials: Make sure the plumber is licensed and insured, and that they have the necessary qualifications and experience to perform the inspection. This will give you peace of mind knowing that the job is being done by a professional.
  5. Get multiple quotes: It is always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different plumbers so you can compare prices and services offered. This will help you make an informed decision and avoid overpaying for the inspection. Although for an inspection you will have to pay for this to be done before you can get multiple quotes.

In the photos above you can clearly see what our licensed plumber had discovered. The stormwater drain piping had lots of breaks and a major collapse that was easily visible on the camera once we cleared the lines of all the debris and build up.

It meant the home owner could make a decision about the repairs with complete confidence, the choices came down to replacing, relining or repairing parts of it.

What does pipe relining look like after it is done?

Here is a short video comparing before & after the pipe relining, you’ll see the different immediately, it is a bit like installing a new pipe inside the existing pipe.

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Is it better to replace or reline a broken stormwater pipe in Paddington?

The big benefit of getting a CCTV camera inspection of your pipes after they have had a high pressure jet blast is to check there isn’t anything else that is in the system that is likely to cause an issue. Luckily the owner decided to do that for this home in Paddington and we discovered the collapsed section and the other spots long the pipe that were broken.

We could create a plan to then replace the section with the most damage & then assess the rest of the line to see if it was suitable to be relined. We could not have done this without looking inside the plumbing with the CCTV pipe camera.

Looking at the damage we figured out that it was possible to replace a section of pipe in the back yard, then reline the rest of the stormwater plumbing so ensure the other small cracks didn’t get any worse.


How much does pipe relining or blocked drain repairs in Paddington cost?

It depends… that’s right the cost of blocked drain repairs, replacements or relining in Paddington will vary based on the extent of the work required. Is it a small 30 cm section that has to be replaced that is located under soft soil or do we have to excavate a concrete slab, driveway and footpath to replace 10 metres of piping?

For this home in Paddington we found many small holes and minor damage throughout the majority of the stormwater line. The main damage however was found in the driveway, and under the first set of stairs leading up to the house. 


  • In the driveway there is a collapse in the pipe work 2m upstream from the garage door. This will need to be excavated and replaced to repair. 
  • Under the first set of stairs there is a junction which picks up two other aggline drains. Generally agg lines should be connected to a pit for cleaning access. These agg lines are connected incorrectly, and this area of the drainage is quite inefficient. We couldn’t be sure that the junction was causing a blockage or if the aggline was even working correctly, but from a licensed professional point of view, it does look like a trouble spot that should be replaced or repaired. 


So the options to repair or replace or reline the pipes became;



Option 1.
Repair collapsed stormwater pipe in driveway: this will need to be completed before the reline works. To repair this we needed to excavate and expose the section of pipe work in the driveway, replace it, backfill, then reinstate grass.

There are many small fractures in the pipe work in the driveway. Once the collapsed pipe has been repaired we recommend re lining the stormwater line from the lane way outlet to the set of sandstone stairs just before the agg line section. 

Price $21,000 plus GST




Options 2.
Repair collapsed stormwater pipe in the driveway as well as re line the entire main line from the lane way outlet all the way to the inspection point in the void at the rear of the laundry. This will block off the agg line section too and make the aggline obsolete. In which case we could further quote works to reinstate a correct aggline setup if necessary. 

Price 2 $38,000 plus GST
*this price excludes reconfiguring any aggline works at this stage


where we can, we will always offer different approaches to servicing, repairing or replacing your plumbing to solve any problems you may have. In this example the more expensive option will create a longer term repair solution as well as improve the flow of stormwater away from the home.

Of course any situation that involves replacing the plumbing on a block of land that already has a dwelling on it will always be more expensive compared to replacing a small section or doing pipe relining repairs.

Is pipe relining in Paddington better than replacing broken pipes?

With so many old homes in Paddington that are build on sandstone or concrete slabs the choice of fixing a blocked drain issue will tend to favour pipe relining. If you home has clay pipes this may be challenging to complete if they are completely collapsed. Pipe relining is a modern solution to fixing damaged or blocked pipes, that can be a more cost-effective and less invasive alternative to replacing an entire plumbing system by excavating from under a garden or a home. The process involves installing a flexible, resin-saturated liner into the existing pipe. The liner is then inflated and cured, creating a new, seamless pipe within the old one.

One of the main advantages of relining over replacement is that it does not require excavation, which can be disruptive, time-consuming, and ver expensive if a plumber has to cut under concrete or even remove a section of the floor in the house. The relining process can be completed from the inside of the pipes, without the need to dig up the entire plumbing system, making it a quicker and more convenient solution for many property owners, while also being the only cost effective choice for many.

Another benefit of relining is its cost-effectiveness, replacing an entire plumbing system can be extremely expensive, especially when you factor in the costs of excavation, materials, and labor as it can take a few days to complete even simple pipe replacements jobs. In comparison, relining can often be completed for a fraction of the cost, and because the process is less invasive, there is less chance of additional damage occurring during the repair process to a floor area, walls or the structure of a building.

Relined pipes are also more durable and long-lasting than old clay pipes or cheap plastic pipes, as they are made from strong, flexible material that is resistant to corrosion and wear. This means that once a pipe has been relined, it is less likely to develop further blockages or leaks in the future, reducing the need for ongoing repairs and maintenance (unless of course you put food, toys, sanitary items or other things down the drain)

In addition, relining can be a more environmentally friendly solution than replacement, as it involves less excavation and waste generation. Excavating and replacing pipes can result in large amounts of soil and other waste being generated, which must then be disposed of, adding to the environmental impact of the project.

Finally, relining can also improve the overall performance of a plumbing system as it is very smooth on the inside of the pipes, reducing turbulence and friction, which can lead to increased water flow and improved pressure. This can result in a more efficient and effective plumbing system that can wash water waste away quickly.

If the blocked or broken section of piping can be accessed relatively easily then this could be the faster, cheaper alternative to relining a whole system, although every situation will vary. A licensed plumber can do a CCTV digital camera pipe inspection to assess what might be needed. For this home in Paddington they needed to replace a collapsed section plus reline the rest of it to repair the damage that had been caused. So it wasn’t a one way choice, both methods had to be used together.

Is pipe relining in Paddington worth it?

Pipe relining is worth it for different reasons;

1. It is worth it because in some situations it will be the only simple solution to get a drain pipe working again without spending a fortune to replace an existing system.

2. Pipe relining is less intrusive than pipe replacements as the ground doesn’t have to be dug up, the plumber doesn’t have to access pipes under a house etc. Everything is done by putting materials into the existing plumbing system from ground level, there isn’t any digging or excavating involved.

3. Pipe relining is cheaper than most pipe replacement costs when you compare similar longer lengths, especially when the piping runs under a large structure like a house, retail shop or apartment block.

Can an existing PVC pipe be relined in Paddington?

As we have demonstrated for this home in Paddington we relined the existing PVC pipeline that had been installed. We firstly identified the wrong material had been chosen for the plumbing installation, then secondly it wasn’t protected well enough so it was always going to fail at some point in its lifetime. PVC pipeline repairs can be done using relining techniques that do not require digging up your old system.
As you can see in this example it helped save thousands of dollars in major pipe replacement work.

How long can pipe relining last for?

How long any pipe relining lasts for will depend on the quality of the lining that is used, the conditions of the pipes it is going into and what they of materials are passing through it everyday. Generally speaking it is said that high quality pipe relining can last more than 30 years. Although if you are flushing toxic chemicals down the drain every day then we’ll assume the life expectancy will be much less.

Normally relined pipes are done using strong and durable materials, such as fiberglass or epoxy resin, which can resist general corrosion and wear. Together with the seamless nature of the new internal pipe surface it means it is less likely to develop leaks or blockages, compared to traditional clay or plastic pipes.

It is important to note that regular maintenance and inspections can help to extend the lifespan of a relined pipe. That’s because you can get them cleaned regularly, but also have a CCTV camera inspection done to see what is inside the piping network. Together with avoiding the flushing of non-degradable items down the toilet or sink, it can extend the life of a relined pipe.

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