Water & Sewer

Water & Sewer

Water & Sewer
The Water & Sewer services provided by Richmond Valley Council include a number of infrastructure projects and facilities. For further information, use the links provided below.

The following general Water & Sewer information is provided to improve community awareness of Council and property owner responsibilities with respect to water and sewer services.  Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections.

Reading Your Water Meter

Reading your water meter is quite a simple task.  However, there are several different types of water meters used throughout Richmond Valley Council. For analysis of the types of water meters in use, download the document listed at the end of this page 'Different Types of Water Meters'.

Council water meter readers read only the ‘Black and White’ numbers (Kilolitres) on a water meter, the red numbers or dials are only used to record low range usage and allows for checking for internal leaks.

Water meters are read in September, December, March and June (may be a few days either side of these months). For information about these readings and the account due dates they generate, download the document at the end of this page 'Account due dates for rates, water and sewer charges'.

If you wish to monitor your consumption and estimate your costs, you will need to take a current reading of your water meter (black and white numbers only), deduct these numbers from your previous reading (which is available on your water account) and this gives you your consumption.  Multiply  your consumption by the current consumption rate/charge.

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Leaking Water Meter

Council is responsible for repairing leaking services occurring on the Council side of the meter.

Water lost through leaks on Council side of the water meter will not register on your meter, therefore, you will not be charged for any water lost.  However, your assistance is needed in reporting these leaks. Please contact Council on (02) 6660 0300. This is a 24 hour service number and on-call staff are available after hours to respond to major leaks. It is important to save water as it is very precious to our community and the environment.

Property owners are responsible for pipes coming out of the meter and internal pipes to their property. This includes any leaks in pipes or fixtures from the water meter onwards. The property owner is responsible for the costs of repairing leaks and for the cost of any water lost due to the leak. To view a diagram showing Council and Property Owner responsibility division regarding water meters, download the document at the end of this page 'Diagram of Water Meter - Council / Owner Responsibilities'.

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Faulty Water Meter

Sometimes people with high water accounts believe their meter is faulty. Faulty meters are quite rare.  Water meters are precision instruments which are rigorously inspected and tested before they are installed. So it pays to check for leaks before asking Council to check your meter.

If you would like Council to proceed with a flow test of your water meter, you will be required to pay a fee as per Council fees and charges. If the meter is found to be faulty and is over reading (water meter has an error greater than 3%), then this charge will be refunded to you and your water meter will be replaced.

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Multi Unit Water Metering Guidelines

The document listed at the end of this page 'Multi Unit Water Metering Guidelines' relates to Richmond Valley Council's water service requirements for dual and multi unit developments. It is a guideline only and should be used in conjunction with Richmond Valley Council's standards and policies.

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Excessive Water Notice

Council will endeavour to advise property owners in writing if an extreme increase in your water meter reading is noticed.

Leaks are not always visible and many leaks do not show puddles or drips on the surface. An undetected leak could waste over 6,000 litres of water a day. It is a good idea for property owners to regularly check around their property for leaks.

If you check around the water meter and can’t find any obvious leaks, you can test for leaks in the underground pipes by turning off all taps on your property (make sure no one is using water), take a reading of the water meter, check to see if the far right hand dial or red numbers on the water meter are moving, take another reading in at least 30 minutes time, if the reading has changed or the dial is moving, contact a licensed plumber to locate and repair the leak.

Council does not have a policy in place to reimburse property owners of the cost for excess water due to internal plumbing breakages. This cost is the property owners responsibility.

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Dirty Water

Council water mains can develop over time a build up of sediment and corrosion causing discolouration of the water. To reduce this, Council water mains are flushed and swabbed on a regular basis. Should you notice your water becoming dirty, Council suggests at the time of occurrence, you report this to Council on (02) 6660 0300. This is a 24 hour service number and on-call staff are available after hours.

Upon reporting the dirty water, please have the following details available; the time, location, colour and smell of the dirty water. Council staff are also likely to take a sample for further testing.

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Your Sewer and What You Need to Know

Most residential properties are connected to Council's sewer system via a single junction into each lot.  The connections have identifiable points for access, inspection, repair and surcharge (overflow).  The two documents listed at the end of this page 'Diagram of Boundary Shaft and Connection to Sewer Main' and 'Your Sewer - What You Need to Know' are provided to assist owners to evaluate sewer problems and reduce surface water inflow and groundwater infiltration into Council's sewer system.

Faulty Sewer

Council is responsible for the maintenance of Council owned sewer mains through properties. However, property owners are responsible for clearing blockages within their internal plumbing.  

The property inspection shaft should give you an indication of where the blockage has occurred. If the inspection shaft is empty, the blockage must be in the house drainage and you should contact a licenced plumber. If the inspection shaft is full or partly full the blockage is likely to be in the Council main.  Please contact Council on (02) 6660 0300. This is a 24 hour service number and on-call staff are available after hours.

Licenced plumbers are not permitted to work on Council mains/assets. Council will not accept responsibility of payment of licenced plumber bills.

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Preventing Leaks and Maintain Access to Council Assets

Take care not to plant trees near your water meter or create garden beds over the meter. Your water meter must be visible and accessible at all times for Council to take a reading. 

Also be careful not to plant large trees or build garden sheds over water and sewer pipes or mains which run through your property.  In the case where a major repair is required, this could avoid costly repairs and restorations.  Council can supply you with a map indicating the locations of any water and sewer mains within your property at a cost (as per Council Fees and Charges) via the application for Underground Services Location Form.

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Development Servicing Plans

When planning construction of water and sewer connections for new development, be sure to visit the Development Servicing Plans page.

New South Wales Office of Water

The NSW Office of Water website provides valuable information on best practice management, financial assistance, technical support and training that Councils already access on a regular basis.

The website also provides information on river management including real-time flow and water quality information that may be of interest to water managers.


General Information Documents

The documents mentioned above are listed below and are available for download. For further information, call Council's Water & Sewer department on (02) 6660 0300.

Community Services