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How much plumbing maintenance do you do at your place? We all check the water and oil in our cars and put new batteries in the smoke detector, but forgetting about your plumbing can mean flooding, damage, and whopping bills. But apart from cleaning out the gutters, plunging the sink and keeping an eye out for leaks, what else do you need to look out for in order to protect your property’s crucial plumbing system?

One of the least talked about parts of your plumbing is the overflow relief gully – which is really no surprise given that so many people don’t even know what it is! So before we get any deeper into how to look after your all-important overflow gully, defining it is probably the best place to start:

What is an overflow relief plumbing gully?

In a nutshell, it’s just a little drain – almost always covered by a pop-off grate – with a simple purpose: allowing any overflow sewage system waste or pressure to flow outside of your home rather than inside it in the event of a blockage or other problem. You’ll find it at the very exit of your home’s sewage system, slightly below floor level, and particularly large properties may have more than one.


But the real question is: How do you look after yours?

1. Don’t hide it

You’d be amazed how many times we’ve visited a property only to discover that the overflow drain fully has been covered with something to hide it – like a pot plant. But if it’s covered, meaning the grate is unable to pop off in moments of severe pressure, the plumbing gully won’t be able to function properly in terms of relieving that excess or accumulating waste when it’s needed most.

2. Keep it clear

After deliberately covering it, the next-worst thing you could do with your overflow relief gully is interfering with its functionality with other elements of your property’s plumbing or drainage systems – like downpipes and pool backwash. Landscaping and paving that drains towards the gully drain can have a similar disastrous effect of directing water and waste towards your crucial sewage system outlet.

3. Check the grate

As outlined earlier, your overflow gully will almost certainly feature a loose, ‘pop-off’ grate that is designed to come clear of the drain when a serious blocked stormwater drain or overflow situation occurs. If it’s stuck, or deliberately secured, it’s can’t do its thing.

4. Know your responsibilities

Don’t forget, while it’s easy to assume that your home’s original plumbing installations were all someone else’s responsibility, don’t forget that now that it’s there, the onus is on you. Throughout Queensland, councils require property owners to maintain a certified and fully-functioning overflow gully.

5. Situate it correctly

If you’re getting a new drain gully installed, make sure your plumber knows exactly what they’re doing – with arguably the most important thing being the required level. Remember, a sewer drain gully won’t work properly – or at all – unless it’s at least 150mm lower than the lowest-lying waste outlet inside the house. Not just that, the plumbing gully then needs to sit 75mm above ground level so that pooling stormwater cannot enter your sewer system. This is all in accordance with AS3500 Plumbing Regulation.

6. Check the drainage

Bear in mind, you can get everything else right with your overflow relief gully – only to discover that when it does need to operate to relieve pressure and waste, it simply drains back into the sewer and creates a whole host of new problems like a blocked sewer.

Ask Brisbane’s experts about your overflow gully

So never forget, even if you’re only now discovering just how important your overflow relief gully is, it really is a crucial part of your property’s plumbing and sewerage system that needs to be looked after. If yours is playing up, damaged or you have any questions about it, the only people you should ask are licensed, experienced plumbing & drainage solution experts.

At Brisbane Plumbing & Drainage, we have a local Brisbane plumber near you for all drainage and other plumbing issues all across Brisbane and beyond – so get in touch today for fast service, guaranteed workmanship, and a smile every time!