The laws governing the control of stormwater and waste water management as set out in Local Law 8 (Nuisances and Community Health and Safety) 2013 state that the occupier or owner of premises shall not discharge, deposit or permit the escape of any waste water or other fluid on to any adjoining land or road so as to cause a nuisance. The discharge can be the escape of waste waters, fluids like grey water from washing machines, rainwater overflow and/or discharge from stormwater pipes attached to buildings or structures not connected to a lawful discharge point.

Stormwater control and overland flow

Water that is unable to enter the underground drainage system will follow its natural path according to the natural topography of the land known as overland flow paths. These overflow paths are typically roadways, public reserves and pathways and often traverse through private property. For more information on stormwater control refer to the factsheet below.

Owner responsibilities

  • You must maintain your roof water drainage, stormwater pipes, gutters, downpipes, gully pits and any other components of your approved drainage system on your property in good condition and in compliance with any Council requirements (connected to stormwater infrastructure or approved discharge point).
  • You are required to accept natural overland flow from adjoining properties or public land and must not divert or redirect the flow from its natural path on to neighbouring properties.
  • It is important to note that a downstream property owner cannot erect any type of barrier by way of large walls or closed fencing that interferes with the path of stormwater - if you are downstream, you must accept the 'natural' run-off on to your property.
  • If there is an easement on your property it must be maintained and kept clear of debris to allow the natural flow of stormwater to the field gully.

What is a lawful discharge point?

A lawful point of discharge is a legal term Council uses to determine if a stormwater pipe is connected to an authorised Council stormwater drain or road. It can also be a soakage pit (rubble pit), wich is a shallow trench filled with rocks though which water drains.

Waste water and owner's responsibilities

Waste water nuisances occur where water is exiting the property (not confined to the property) and is being diverted or running into another property, or if the wastewater is being diverted into the stormwater system, including overflow from:

  • Greywater systems
  • Onsite sewerage facility (septic systems)
  • Swimming pool filter backwash
  • Rainwater tanks
  • Soaker hose, leaking taps or water leaks.

Greywater is waste water generated from baths, showers, washbasins and laundries which can be diverted for use on lawns and gardens. Check the location of your greywater hose - it may be too close to the boundary fence and flowing onto a neighbouring property, causing a nuisance.

Onsite sewerage facilities (septic systems)
An on-site sewerage facility is any system that stores, treats and disposes of household wastewater on the property. Poorly sited or maintained on-site sewerage facilities can impact public health and the environment. The owner of the facility is responsible for ensuring the system is maintained and functioning properly. You may need a licensed plumber to come and inspect your system for any faults or defects.

Swimming pool filter backwash
The Southeast Queensland Water Supply and Sewerage Design and Construction Code (SEQ Code) states pool filter backwash cannot be discharged to a sewer in Ipswich without Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) approval. Check that your backwash/overflow device is connected to the lawful discharge point and is not discharging to the ground so as to cause a potential nuisance.

Rainwater tanks
Check to ensure your rainwater tanks are not leaking or in poor condition and that your rainwater tank has been certified and approved after installation. The overflow pipe for a rainwater tank should be connected to a lawful discharge point - this may be the inter-allotment stormwater system, the street or a soakage pit on the property.

Soaker hoses/leaking taps/water mains
The owner is responsible for ensuring that water is not escaping from their property and causing a water nuisance. Check that your garden hose is not too close to the boundary and that any outdoor taps are not leaking or any water pooling on your property. Should you find any issues, you may need to carry out maintenance or there may be a ground water problem on your property. To rectify some of these issues a licensed plumber may be required. If the leak is on the footpath side of your water meter and in turn the water mains, contact Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) to investigate.

Dispute resolution

Problem with ground water or overland flow are generally a civil matter to be resolved between the respective owners and council has limited power to intervene.

  • Landowners are encouraged to talk to their neighbours about the problem and to seek a mutually suitable solution.
  • If the dispute is not resolved, you can contact the appropriate Queensland Government Dispute Resolution Centre regarding their non-legal mediation service - they may be able to assist without the need for expensive legal proceedings. For more information visit the Queensland Government Dispute Resolution Centre website or phone their tollfree number on 1800 017 288.
  • If all attempts at reconciliation fail and you feel your property has suffered or been exposed to potential damage, you can seek legal advice about the feasibility of taking civil action against the party creating the problem.


Should you wish to lodge a complaint regarding stormwater and waste water management visit Council's Complaints webpage and follow Council's complaints process.

More information

Stormwater Control Factsheet (PDF, 42.5 KB)

Managing Overland Flow