Property owner's responsibility
The lateral is the wastewater pipe from a private property to the public sewer main and is owned by the property owner. The property owner is responsible for maintaining, repairing the lateral and any associated costs. This includes the section in the legal road, and blockages caused by tree roots.
Council is responsible for all maintenance and repairs to the public sewer main. If the damage to the lateral is caused by a tree on Council road reserve, we will clear the blockage the first time but subsequent faults are your responsibility. The Council has no legal obligation to meet the repair costs of a lateral, unless the Council caused the damage.
Utility company's responsibility
If the damage to your lateral has been caused by a utility company, like a gas, electricity, or phone company, they are responsible for repairing the damage.
Lifespan of pipes
Wastewater pipes have a life of about 80 years. If the pipe is properly constructed and maintained, it's designed to withstand normal tree root and traffic loadings. However, as pipes reach the end of their life, the pipe's age is more likely to be the cause of any problems.
Signs of a problem
If the pipe is regularly getting blocked or there are signs of seepage, like wet patches appearing during dry weather, then your pipe needs repairing.
Find the problem
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 04 499 4444 and ask our drain maintenance contractors to inspect the public sewer main. We'll need to know the address and the area affected.
If the problem is in the public sewer main, we will verify where the fault is and get our maintenance contractor to fix the problem at our cost. If the public main is clear and not leaking, we'll advise you to contact a plumber to investigate the cause of the blockage or seepage in your lateral and fix the fault. This is at your cost.
Apply for a drainage connection