Tips for plumbing and water use​

Tips for plumbing and water use​
Building Codes Queensland
Plumbing and water use
Tips for residents in flood and cyclonic affected areas
Floods and cyclones can cause significant damage to water infrastructure and housing. This fact
sheet provides answers to frequently asked questions from residents with plumbing and water use
issues.
Frequently asked questions
Can I drink water from taps on flood affected properties?
First contact your local government and ask if the water in your area is fit to drink. If they confirm it
is, run the tap to flush all the water out that has been sitting in the pipes before you use it.
It is recommended that you get a licensed plumber to check all external pipework and appliances
prior to use. Electrical appliances, such as a water pump, should be checked by a licensed
electrician.
Can I use the rainwater tank for drinking?
Providing no flood water has entered the tank, it should be suitable to use for drinking water.
However, it is recommended that rainwater be filtered/treated first.
Can I use the toilets?
Contact your local government to confirm the local sewerage system in your area is operational. If
they confirm it is operational, toilets and sanitary fixtures may be used.
It is recommended that you get a licensed plumber to check all pipework and flush and clean the
cistern prior to use.
I have a septic system/on-site treatment plant. Can it be used?
Because flood water may have entered the tank, it must be serviced by a licensed plumber before
use. Treatment plants will require all electrical components to be checked by a licensed electrician
before the power supply is turned on.
Who do I contact if the water is discoloured or smells?
Water with an unusual smell or colour should not be drunk without first contacting your relevant
local government. Notify your local government of the problem as soon as possible so it can be
fixed quickly.
Plumbing and water use: Tips for residents in flood and cyclonic affected areas
Page 2 of 2
What should I check before turning on the water to my house?
Look for any visibly damaged pipework or fittings. All plumbing appliances, such as hot water units
and pumps, should be checked and certified by a licensed electrician. It is recommended that you
get a licensed plumber to check all pipework and appliances prior to use.
How do I know if my water supply pipework that is covered is leaking?
Turn off all the taps and check your water meter. If the dial is turning then you may have a broken
pipe.
Can I claim the repair works on my insurance?
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the damage has been identified so any
necessary claims can be processed. However, if the insurance company recommends a
contractor, you can contact the Plumbing Industry Council to check if the person holds a current
licence to perform the work. To contact the Plumbing Industry Council phone 1800 682 021 or
email [email protected]
What should I do before turning the gas back on to my property?
Appliances, meters or regulators that have been covered or damaged by flood water must be
inspected by a licensed gasfitter before the gas supply will be restored. A compliance certificate
will be issued after the inspection has been completed.
Who to contact
•
To have your gas reconnected after inspection, contact APA Group on 1300 001 001.
•
If residents are experiencing problems or have trouble locating gasfitters or suppliers, contact
the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate on:
– +61 7 4938 4683 (central region)
– +61 7 3238 3725 (southern region)
– +61 7 4760 7402 (northern region).
What should I check before turning on the hot water unit?
Any system using electricity should be checked by a licensed electrician.
Gas hot water systems may require an inspection and/or servicing by a licensed gasfitter.
Solar or heat pump hot water systems may require an inspection and/or servicing by a licensed
plumber.
More information
Full details of the plumbing and drainage laws can be found on the Department of Housing and
Public Works website at www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction.
Building Codes Queensland
August 2013
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