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What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is a valuable resource. It is the rain water that runs off hard surfaces such as roads, footpaths and car parks into our drains, creeks, estuaries, coastal lagoons and finally to the ocean. Stormwater pipes and other infrastructure are designed to efficiently carry stormwater to avoid flooding and erosion of property and creek beds.

Devonport City Council maintain over 13km of open drains, 210 km of stormwater pipes, 3,250 stormwater manholes, 3,050 stormwater pits, 230 headwalls and three detention basins to manage stormwater runoff and help improve water quality in our waterways.

It is important to work together to ensure our stormwater does not carry pollutants from:

  • chemicals from homes
  • earthworks from developments
  • herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers from gardens
  • leaves and lawn clippings
  • cigarette butts
  • rubbish from roads

These pollutants result in poor water quality in our local waterways. This has environmental impacts on our aquatic plants and animals, as well as creeks, rivers and beaches.

What You Need to Know About Managing Water Outflows From Your Property

If you are unsure of your properties sewage and stormwater connections and locations, contact your local plumber.

Council are in the process of investigating illegal stormwater connections within the sewage system through such processes as smoke and dye testing and CCTV. As illegal properties are identified, a Notice is issued by Council, which remains on the Title until such time as the matter has been resolved.

If you are unsure of your property’s sewage and stormwater connections and locations, contact your local plumber.

One way is through water seeping into sewerage pipes and manholes through cracks or bad joints. Another way is where water enters via properties and breaks in Council mains into the sewerage system.

If you are discharging your stormwater into the sewerage system you run the risk of sewage backing up and spilling out into your house or yard during heavy rains.

While Council has the right to prosecute under the Sewers and Drains Act, it understands that in many cases the illegal connection may have been made before the current owner purchased the property.

Residents are asked to be proactive and make the necessary changes as soon as possible as these issues affect the whole community.

Fines will not be issued at this stage, but will be considered if illegal connections are reconnected in the future.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but in many cases you can see downpipes carrying stormwater from the roof which point into the sewer gully trap or grate outside.

Often, there will be sewerage pipes such as those from laundries and/or bathrooms.

Some simple steps to better manage stormwater and reduce the environmental impact of your home

When preparing the building foundations, avoid cut and fill.
Attempt to maintain the existing topography and drainage pattern.

Vegtation and deep-rooted trees lower the watertable. They bind the soil, filter nutrients, decrease runoff velocities, capture sediment and reduce the potential for dryland salinity.

Dryland salinity: a process where excess salt affects soil, biodiversity and water quality

During building works reduce the erosion potential on site by minimising the time that land is left in an exposed, unstable condition. Employ sediment traps and divert ‘clean’ stormwater around the disturbed site (see Sediment control).

Minimise the area of impervious surfaces such as paved areas, roofs and concrete driveways. 
Where possible grade impervious surfaces during construction to drain to vegetated areas.

Impervious surfaces: these are mainly structures like driveways or paved areas that are covered by water-resistant materials such as concrete. 

Related Resources:

Stormwater System Management Plan