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Fortunately, we rarely have to think about the content of our sewer systems. We simply flush the toilet, drain the sink, or sweep the rainwater into the storm drain, and we entrust that will be the last we’ll see of it.

It’s only when something goes wrong that we really become aware of how integral these systems are and just how problematic we can find a blocked sewer. Sydney residents that notice a gurgling sound from within their pipework, a foul smell, backed up, bubbling drains, and a toilet that is dangerously close to overflowing should look to sort the problem immediately.

While these signs can sometimes be simply a sign of a blocked domestic pipe, they can also indicate a larger problem regarding the sewer system within your property bounds. Putting things off typically results in a bigger mess to deal with as any blockages or failures in the drainage system or sewer becomes worse.

Milbur Plumbing - The Plumbing Company in Sydney You Can Trust for a Blocked Sewer Line

Fortunately, for those with a blocked sewer, Sydney-based specialists, Milbur Plumbing are always on standby to sort things out. At Milbur Plumbing, we understand that in the event of a blocked sewer, drain, or another plumbing emergency, time is of the essence with water potentially damaging your home or business property and affecting the wellbeing of your family, and employees or customers.

Kitchen Sink Drainage

For peace of mind then, choose Milbur Plumbing.

We offer:

With decades of combined experience, our team of experts can handle even the most stubborn blocked sewer problem using our specialist equipment and technical know-how.

What Are the Common Signs of a Blocked Sewer Line in Sydney?

The sewer line in your home or property is the main pipework responsible for carrying your waste to the public sewage system. This sewer line will have pipes branching off from it that lead to all of your amenities and utilities on your property such as the toilet, kitchen sink, bath, washing machine, and drains. The sewer line’s access point is sometimes located directly underneath a property, in a crawlspace, or sometimes buried under the yard. This pipe is typically around 4 inches in diameter and will be recognisable for the screw top that allows access to the interior of the pipe when needed. As all of the plumbing in your home is connected to the sewer line, a blockage within it could mean symptoms occurring elsewhere within your property.

The Most Common Problems Are

Water Backed Up in Your Toilet or Sink

While symptomatic of other problems too, a toilet or sink that regularly backs up with water is a sign that you may have a blocked sewer. You may also notice a gurgling sound as waste and water are impeded by the blockage further into the system. While it can be tempting to assume these problems will resolve themselves, they should be seen as early warning signs that can help detect a potential major blockage.

Slow Bathroom or Sink Drain

After a bath or doing the washing up, you may also notice the water is unusually slow to drain as it falls down the plug hole. A single slow drain may indicate a more localised blockage, but if multiple drains within your home or property are slow draining, you may have a blockage in the main sewer line.

Bad Smells

One of the more obvious signs of a blocked sewer main line is a particularly foul smell that will begin to pervade your home. This is due to the gases and waste not being flushed away correctly in the event of a blockage or a failure in the pipe. Unable to escape, these bad-smelling gases begin to back up through pipework into your property creating an unpleasant environment for everyone.

Flooded Yard

Another more obvious sign of a sewer line blocked or broken is pools of water forming in your yard area. Patches of standing water indicate the drainage system is failing and water is unable to drain away, potentially due to a blocked sewer pipe. As the sewer pipe is relatively deep beneath the surface, a flooded yard is potentially one of the last symptoms of a blockage, meaning by this point the problem could be well established.

The Blocked Sewer Line Process Explained

If you suspect, you may have a blocked sewer, Sydney residents should call Milbur Plumbing as we can help diagnose and fix the problem with ease. Our process is simple, we call out and assess the sewer line within your home or property. We then clear the blockage if one is detected, and then determine how the problem occurred and give advice on detecting and preventing further issues in the future.

Assess the Blocked Sewer Line

Our plumbing experts will first assess any affected drains and utilities such as an overflowing storm drain or toilet. We will then determine the location of your main sewer line and the blockage itself based on experience and by which drains are affected.

More localised blockages, such as leaves and detritus in a storm drain, manifest the same symptoms as a deeper blockage in the sewer pipe. Milbur Plumbing can tell you exactly what kind of blockage you have upon calling out and explain the treatment process before any work is carried out.

Clear The Blocked Sewer Line

After confirming that the sewer line is blocked and the approximate location, our experts will then begin to clear the blockage using our specialist equipment.

Milbur plumbing typically uses high-pressure jets of water to clear blockages with penetrating nozzles that exert considerable force to dislodge and break up waste material. We also have several other professional tools and techniques to resolve blockages where water jets may be inappropriate or need additional support.

Investigate and Detect

With the sewer line cleared of the blockage, Milbur Plumbing technicians will then insert a snaking drain inspection camera into your main sewer pipe to ensure the blockage is clear. Using a portable monitor and the CCTV cable, our experts will be able to show you live where the blockage was and that it is now cleared.

We will also be able to explain how the problem occurred and the best way to avoid it happening again, saving you money and sparing you future problems.

What Are the Causes of a Blocked Sewer Line?

As the main sluice, responsible for carrying waste and water away, a sewer line is integral to the functioning of your home or property. Connected to all of the plumbing within your home, a problem with your sewer means problems elsewhere. And the reverse is true too, with anything flushed away down sinks, toilets, and drains all eventually ending up in the sewage line. This means blockages in your property’s sewer are typically caused by what enters the system through your sinks, toilets, storm drains, and other plumbing. The most common causes include
kitchen items drainage

Foreign Objects

A lot of objects that really belong in the rubbish bin can wind up flushed down the toilet causing a problem for your plumbing. Children especially have a tendency to flush toys and other objects away but adults can be to blame too, flushing cotton balls, hygiene products, hair, and even things like kitty litter down the toilet.

Wet Wipes

One of the biggest offenders involves wet wipes. These are often non-biodegradable and really belong in the bin. Resembling toilet tissue, however, they are mistakenly thought to be suitable for the toilet, resulting in blockages when wipes begin to catch on other debris within the pipework. While there are some wet wipes that state they are suitable for flushing, even these can cause blockages as they take time to break down.

Toilet Paper

While toilet paper does belong in the toilet, flushing too much away at once can cause a blockage that can take some time to dislodge. As the blockage may not be noticed immediately, a build-up of material can then occur, compounding the problem. It’s important, then to only flush small amounts of toilet paper away at once, and avoid rolling the paper into clumps.

Hair Build Up

Commonly finding its way into the sewer line through the shower or bath plug hole, hair is surprisingly resistant to breaking down and a build-up can cause major problems in your plumbing. It is important, then, to use a hair catcher in your plug hole and to not flush any hair down the toilet after cleaning a comb, for instance.

Tree Roots

While a plastic or concrete pipe is fairly strong, a tree root can quite easily break through a sewer line in search of water. Ensuring nearby trees are well-maintained, kept to an appropriate size, and watered if necessary can help prevent this from happening. However, tree roots will naturally spread a long way beneath properties, occasionally entering sewer lines. In these instances, it is necessary to seek professional services such as those offered by Milbur Plumbing.
food scraps

Food Scraps

Taking a little extra time to scrape plates clean before washing them up or loading them into the dishwasher can save you a headache further down the line. While you may be able to force these scraps of food down the plug hole, out of sight and out of mind, they have not disappeared. On the contrary, they can form large blockages over time that can be difficult to dislodge without professional help.
The top causes of blocked drains

Grease Build Up

Used oil, butter, and grease should be bottled and put into the bin but are often simply poured down the plug hole. While it goes in as liquid, it can quickly solidify and coat the inside of your plumbing with a thick film of grease and grime. This can often cause a narrowing in sewer main lines, especially in commercial properties when food by-products are not disposed of correctly. Being fairly sticky, too, this coating will also catch other debris running through the sewer, exacerbating the problem.

Broken Pipes

Over time, it’s also possible for sewer lines to become damaged and collapse. This happens due to the plastic used as a sewer pipe becoming more fragile, tree roots forcing their way into the centre of the pipe, ground surface disturbances, and in the case of concrete or stone sewers, the general wear and tear of flowing water.

Tools to Use in Clearing a Blocked Sewer Line in Sydney

Whether you’re attempting to resolve a blockage yourself, or you’ve decided to use Milbur Plumbing, there are several tools that are used to resolve a blocked sewer:

Jet Blaster

A professional-grade piece of equipment, jet blasting involves locating the blockage and inserting a flexible hose into the sewer line. This hose has specialised nozzles for dislodging debris, cutting through roots, and breaking down the material. The water is ejected at a force powerful enough to resolve even the most stubborn blockages.

Electric Eel

Similar to jet blasting in that it involves inserting a flexible hose into the sewer line, an electric eel (sometimes called a drain snake) is used to break up material within the pipework and allow water to flow freely. Electric eels come in different forms with mechanical commercial devices being the most effective. While electric eels can sometimes be useful for some blockages such as toilet paper, they are less effective against grease and tree roots. Retail, DIY electric eels and drain snakes are not capable of clearing a blocked sewer main line.

Plumbing Chemical

In some cases, a caustic chemical solution is necessary, with products that dissolve blockages. While over-the-counter solutions can help with smaller, domestic blockages, a blocked sewer will likely require more heavy-duty reagents that are best handled by professionals.


Still effective for minor blockages, a plunger can often be used to get things flowing again. Household plungers often suffice but a plumber will tend to use a slightly more sophisticated plunger capable of creating a more powerful suction force.

Ways to Unblock Your Sewer Line Without Calling a Sydney Plumber

If your blocked drain is not an emergency, it’s worth trying a couple of things first to see if you can resolve the problem yourself.

Plunger: while not guaranteed to clear a blockage, a plunger is still a good place to start. Simply create a seal around the toilet basin or a sink plug hole and generate some suction to hopefully dislodge something in the sewer.

Baking soda and vinegar: mixing ⅓ cup of vinegar with the same measure of baking soda, pour this foamy mixture directly into the sewer line if you have access. This will help dissolve grease and hair that could be causing a blockage.

Boiler water: pouring boiling water directly into the sewer main line’s opening can help dislodge, dissolve, and break down any offending matter.

Drain snake: Inserting a drain snake into the sewer opening and dislodging anything you can sometimes help. Be careful handling the drain snake after application, however, as it will be hazardous.

How to Avoid a Blocked Sewer in Sydney

Preventing a blocked sewer is always the easiest course of action and involves some pretty simple steps:

Sink Strainers

Ensure that all sinks and drains in your household have strainers fixed in place. This way hair, food, and garden debris will not enter your plumbing and cause a blockage.

Avoid Pouring Oil Grease On Your Drains

Always pour used grease, oil, and butter into a container or bottle and place it in the bin. Pouring it down the drain will cause the fats to re-congeal and cause a blockage.

Be Conscious of What You Flush Down the Toilet

Toilet paper and waste should be the only things flushed down the toilet. Wet wipes, sanitary towels, tampons, cotton wool, earbuds, nappies, and other bathroom products should go into a suitable bin instead.

Use Jet Blaster regularly

It is also recommended to have your sewer main line regularly jet blasted to ensure there are no blockages that can cause damage to your property and health. Milbur Plumbing can carry out this routine maintenance for you and advise if there are any blockages that need clearing.

What is the Best Permanent Sydney Blocked Sewer Repair?

Milbur Plumbing offers several repair services in the eventuality of broken sewer and drain pipes:

Relining the Pipe

Without needing to dig up land, floorboards, or concrete, we can reline broken pipes using a resin that bonds to the existing pipe. This is suitable for pipework that is cracked but not yet broken, determined after inspection with our CCTV drain camera.

Pipe Replacement

In the case of severely broken pipes, we can also completely replace the main sewer line. Traditionally this involves creating a trench in your property to access the pipe to excavate and replace it. Modern replacement techniques involve trenchless sewer replacements with only small excavations necessary.

Back Falling Pipes

Disturbances to the ground and house as well as blockages can cause back falling in pipes where water resists flowing towards the sewer line. Using a drain camera, we can diagnose the offending pipework and recommend a solution.

Collapsed Pipes

In some cases, the sewer line may have collapsed completely causing waste matter to accumulate in the ground surrounding the pipe and causing recurring backups of water. Replacing the sewer pipe is a job for professionals and you should call a plumber immediately.

Shallow Pipes

Shallow pipes are pipelines that are not sufficiently buried enough to be considered protected from damage or frost. Milbur Plumbing can help diagnose any shallow pipes on your property and determine the best course of action to protect them.

How Sewer Pipe Relining Can Help You Avoid Major Repairs

Milbur Plumbing’s pipe relining service is an environmentally friendly, non-destructive way to repair old and cracked sewer lines and pipework, that saves you both time and money. Excavations and the associated work can become costly with additional labour and equipment necessary to do the job. Instead of completely replacing the pipe, it is often far better to simply reline the pipe, leaving it in place.

What Is Trenchless Pipe Relining and How Does It Work?

Trenchless relining involves inspecting the pipe using our CCTV equipment and then cleaning it with jets of water. After this, we then insert a “bladder” and resin relining into the pipe. The bladder is inflated, forcing the resin against the inside of the pipe, filling cracks and creating a smooth new pipe within the old one.

This new pipe is extremely durable and has a 50+ year life expectancy. With the inside of your sewer line and pipework now relined, you can also expect better flow capacity and a reduction in blockages. Not only that but the pipe is fixed in a fraction of the time it would take to dig out and replace a sewer line or drain using excavation techniques.

Areas in Sydney Milbur Plumbing service

Milbur Plumbing serves the residents and businesses of Sydney and the surrounding areas. Specifically, we cover the following areas:

Milbur Plumbing Sydney stands by its work and offers all customers a lifetime guarantee on our workmanship.

If you need a blocked sewer fixed and live in the Sydney area, contact us now to get your plumbing problem solved fast.