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Tamarama Drive outlet before clean

Stormwater is rainwater that flows across land surfaces. Our stormwater system includes street gutters, drains, underground pipes, and channels that transport rainwater to waterways.

(Wastewater is water that goes down our sinks, showers, toilets and floor drains.)

Council's public stormwater infrastructure includes:

  • 350km of circular pipes
  • 33km of open channels
  • 6km of box culverts
  • 182 gross pollutant traps
  • 17,394 pits, manholes and headwalls

Report a problem if you see something that needs attention.

Preventing waterway pollution

As water flows over land it picks up pollutants and washes them into our rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches and groundwater:

litter cigarette butts, straws, plastic bags
chemicals fertilisers and pesticides from agriculture and gardens, heavy metals, oils from road surfaces, detergents
natural pollution leaves, garden clippings, animal droppings
pathogens viruses and bacteria from leaking septic tanks
sediments soil erosion from construction sites, unsealed roads, or riverbanks that lack vegetation

The best way to reduce stormwater pollution is to stop it entering our waterways.

What you can do?

  • sweep up leaves and garden clippings
  • put your cigarette butts in the bin
  • clean up paint brushes the right way
  • use a car wash that recycles water

Download stormwater pollution tips (2.96mB PDF).

Stormwater easements

Easements are sections of land set aside for public infrastructure and utility services.

Council and upstream property owners may have the right to direct stormwater through (or discharge onto) an easement.

No structures, building or landscaping are allowed in or near easement boundaries.

Interallotment drainage systems move private property stormwater across other properties to a Council drainage system. They're usually located along the rear boundary with a single grated inlet for each property.

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance and service of interallotment drainage systems (details are usually included in property legal documents).

Stormwater disputes

If stormwater is running onto your property from a neighbour's property, you need to talk to your neighbour. This is a private matter, not a matter for Council.

Seek advice from a licensed plumber and drain layer about the water source and the best way to fix the problem.

Always maintain your stormwater drains to prevent pollution, property damage and flooding.

Section 68 approvals (stormwater drainage works)

Section 68 approvals are often additional to standard development application (DA) requirements.

Council is the only authority that can issue section 68 approvals. Approvals are required for community health and safety.

Council approval is needed for:

  • Connecting a private stormwater drain to a public drain
    For example, installing a pipe to carry roof water or hardstand drainage from a private property, across a public road, road reserve, footpath or nature strip to connect to a Council kerb or stormwater drainage system.
  • Installing a permanent stormwater quality control device
    For example, installing gross pollutant traps and oil and sediment arrestors in a private drainage system that ultimately discharges to a public stormwater drainage system. (Excludes single dwellings or dual occupancies.)
  • Carrying out mandatory erosion and sediment control works
    • for development that involves ground surface disturbance of more than 35m2
    • for excavation or earthworks involving removal or placement of more than 5m3 of soil, such as swimming pools or in ground water tanks. (Excludes house and ancillary construction on rural properties where the construction zone is separated by more than 50m to a water course by a natural sediment barrier such as grass.)

Section 68 approvals are required under the Local Government Act 1993.

How to apply for section 68 approval

Submit the Section 68 Stormwater application (79kB PDF) to Council with the required attachments and fees.

Also see associated applications.

Erosion and sediment control

Land development causes changes to the quantity, quality and flow rate of stormwater.

Council’s stormwater, erosion and sediment control standards help to reduce pollution:

Specifications and standard drawings

Refer to Council's engineering standard drawings when designing and constructing stormwater assets in the Tweed.

See engineering specifications.

Constructed wetland Murwillumbah

Water sensitive urban design: constructed wetland in Murwillumbah

Water sensitive urban design

Water sensitive urban design slows stormwater runoff by imitating the natural water balance on site before land is built on. Water is naturally cleaned and filtered by soil and plants before it gets to waterways.

Council's policies ensure large new developments include water sensitive urban design principles. Council includes these design principles in park and street upgrades where possible.

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