Plumbing and drainage


Approval Permit Inspections

Council regulates plumbing and drainage in the Tweed. We work with the plumbing industry to make sure all plumbing and drainage meets current standards.

All plumbing and drainage works must comply with the current version of the Plumbing Code of Australia and Australia Standard AS/NZS 3500 and all work must be undertaken by a NSW licensed plumber.

When we're notified of a fault, Council generally accepts responsibility for maintenance, repair or renewal of the water service pipework from our water main to the meter, and from our sewer main to the connection point within your property.

Property owners are responsible for all maintenance within their property, from the water meter and sewer connection point.

Approval to connect or carry out plumbing or drainage work

You need approval to connect or disconnect from any of Council’s sewer, stormwater or water systems, or to carry out any work which affect these systems.

This includes plumbing and drainage works for minor alterations, renovations, additions or the relocation of an existing drainage line.

Council approval is also required for plumbing work being carried out on properties connected to On-site Waste Management Systems (septic systems).

How to apply

Submit the application using the online form and pay the fees.

If approved, a notice will be issued along with any conditions specific to the works being proposed. These conditions will also confirm when inspections are needed.

Connection to Council’s water supply

If your proposal is in an area that has reticulated water available and you need to connect to that supply, you'll need to submit an Application for Water Service Connection(PDF, 131KB) to Council with the correct fee.

This fee is determined by the size or diameter of the connection required.

Once your application has been submitted and determined, Council will arrange for a metered connection to the site.

Plumbing permit

Before the licensee carries out the approved works, they must apply for a permit to do plumbing and drainage work. (Obtaining this permit will be a condition of your approval to carry out the work.)

A plumbing permit request must be lodged with Council at least 2 business days before work is carried out.

Notice of work - plumbing and drainage form(PDF, 159KB)

Organising plumbing and drainage inspections

Before booking an inspection please make sure a plumbing permit has been obtained from Council by the contractor.

Inspections can be booked online or by calling Council’s Building and Environmental Health Unit on 02 6670 2400.

What work do I book an inspection for?

You must book an inspection for all of the following, before covering or backfilling:

  • all external drainage including the point of connection to Council's sewer
  • all drainage (internal and external) including trade waste
  • water rough in
  • stack work
  • alterations and additions to existing water and drainage
  • connections to stormwater systems
  • sealing of disused services (water and sewer)
  • work that did not comply with an earlier inspection
  • any work on recycled water plumbing
  • any work relating to the modification of an on-site sewage management system
  • land application areas associated with on-site sewage management systems
  • final inspection on completion of work and before premises is occupied

Council's inspection service is flexible to meet your needs - generally we only need one day's notice.

Inspections are held during business hours and times can be requested if required. Booking a plumbing and drainage inspection is the same process as booking a building inspection.

Backflow prevention and cross connection

Council's Backflow prevention and cross connection control policy(PDF, 214KB) protects water supply from contamination and safeguards public health.


Backflow is any unwanted flow of potentially contaminated water back into Council's water supply system. This can occur when water flows backwards, or opposite to its normal and intended direction of flow.

Backflow is more likely to occur if the water pressure in a customer's property is higher than the pressure in the main. This can occur when:

  • There is a break in the main, resulting in a drop in pressure in the water main
  • The main is turned off and drained during construction or repairs
  • There is a significant draw on the water supply due to fire fighting activities or unauthorised high water use
  • If a pump is connected to the property water plumbing system

Backflow prevention devices have one of the following elements to stop water flowing backwards:

  • An air gap
  • A break tank
  • A valve

Most households in the Tweed will have a backflow prevention device built into their water meter.

Cross connection

A cross connection is a direct or indirect physical connection between drinking water and non-potable water supplies or other contaminants such as chemicals, oil, bacteria, mud or debris.

Cross connection may result from:

  • Faulty plumbing within your premises
  • Hoses submerged in buckets, tanks or pools

Both backflow and cross connections can present a risk to public health. Cross connections contaminate the reticulated water supply system and is illegal.

Hazard ratings

The risk of backflow and contamination varies depending on the situation. There are different backflow prevention devices which can be installed depending on the risk or hazard rating of the property concerned. Australian Standard AS 3500 defines three possible levels of hazard, namely:

  • Low hazard: Conditions, devices or practices which would not endanger health or cause injury if contamination occurs but constitute a nuisance. These are typically domestic properties (single dwellings, duplexes and units) where no commercial activity exists and no fire service is required.
  • Medium hazard: Conditions, devices or practices which could endanger health if contamination occurs. These are typically commercial/industrial properties with contamination risks such as chlorinators, fire hose reels, public swimming pools, marinas. These properties will typically have cross connection and backflow prevention installed during construction.
  • High Hazard: Conditions, devices or practices which have the potential to cause death if contamination occurs. This includes hospitals, abattoirs, irrigators using potentially harmful chemicals and dockside facilities.

Non compliance

If the property owner fails to repair, maintain, replace or test a backflow prevention device as required by legislation, Council may use the provisions of the Local Government Act and Regulations to:

  • Have the defective work repaired
  • Apply penalties
  • Restrict or disconnect the water connection

Fees and payments

Council fees for backflow prevention:

  • issuing permits
  • inspecting backflow prevention device installations
  • re-inspection fees (if required)
  • annual registration and administration fees for backflow prevention devices
  • other fees and charges as appropriate