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You may not give it much thought, but life would be much more complex and messier without stormwater drains. And the sodden mess wouldn’t be the only problem – you’d also risk water damage to your property, foundations, assets, home interior, walls, ceilings and floors, and even your family’s health and wellbeing. You must understand precisely who is responsible for stormwater drains, from the tip of your roof to the very point at which the runoff enters the community system on the street.

The answer? It’s you. If your stormwater management is substandard, you’re not just risking your property but also those of your neighbours and the wider community. That’s why the local authorities may take full responsibility for your runoff once it hits the community system. Still, within the bounds of your property, that’s all on you, including your:

  • Gutters & downpipes
  • Drains
  • Landscaping
  • Driveways & paths
  • Rainwater tanks & more.

Even by understanding that, however, it can be challenging to navigate all those stormwater regulations – because they differ from council to council, state by state. As your trusted Melbourne emergency plumbers, we want to make it as easy as possible for residents in Melbourne Bayside and surrounding areas to know precisely who is responsible for stormwater runoff – and what you need to do next.

Storm Water Drains In Backyard – What To Know

In Victoria, the way stormwater management is handled is by agreements between the separate local councils, the homeowners and the Victorian statutory authority Melbourne Water. Melbourne Water’s stormwater responsibilities end at maintaining the main community drains, while the councils handle just about everything else about public drainage.

As the property owner, on the other hand, you’re responsible for the stormwater drains in your backyard and elsewhere within your boundaries. Let’s break it down a little more.

1. Your Property’s Boundaries

Everything within your boundaries is your responsibility. You must ensure that your runoff is effectively collected and controlled before entering the legal discharge point. In most councils, this discharge point is defined by them.

2. What Is Your Legal Discharge Point?

The building surveyor determined your legal discharge point and issued a report when planning permission was granted. That’s all council keeps records about – they do not track the precise location of your stormwater pipes and private drains.

3. What If You Don’t Have One Yet?

Suppose you need to apply for the nomination of a legal discharge point, such as if you’ve made fundamental design changes to your roofline and certain other aspects of your home and property; it’s done by applying through your council and paying a fee. It should only take two weeks to get a response.

4. What Precisely Are You Responsible For?

In a nutshell, it’s your responsibility to properly maintain every aspect of the stormwater infrastructure within your bounds, although sewerage and drainage easements may be excluded. But you need to look after how your stormwater flows from your roof and beyond, all the way to the discharge point. It is also your responsibility to maintain your drainage system to avoid issues like blocked stormwater drains, flooding and water damage that could do devastating damage.

5. What About Neighbouring Properties?

You may be thinking, ‘I know I’m responsible for the stormwater drain on my property, but what about the neighbours?’ Indeed, whilst ensuring your runoff isn’t flowing onto the neighbours’ land, there are circumstances in which you may be required to accept natural overland flow from either an adjoining private property or even public land. You can’t interfere with that flow if that requirement applies to you.

6. What If You Get Into A Dispute?

Unfortunately, arguments about runoff with neighbours are a relatively common thing. Generally, though, the council, state and regulatory authorities aren’t interested – instead, they’re likely to tell you it’s a private civil matter. Our advice is to stay calm and keep it out of court. Mediation may be available through Victoria’s Department of Justice when serious disputes can’t be solved.

Need Help With Your Stormwater Responsibilities?

Got any more questions? Need guidance, advice or fast, efficient, affordable stormwater drainage solutions and fixes so you can stay on top of your stormwater management responsibilities? The skilled, fully-qualified and reliably-smiling team at Ezy-Plumb is always standing by, ready to assist – so give us a shout today, whether you need a plumber Bayside or beyond!

Petros Ttofari
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