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An overflow relief gully (ORG) is an integral part of your property. It is a grated outlet located outside your home. In the event of a sewer block, ORG grate is designed to pop up and release excess sewer water from the sewer network. It is also installed at a depth that is lower than all the other waste outlets in your home. It is important that your overflow relief gully is well maintained and is functioning properly in the event of an emergency at your property.

This quick video from Queensland Urban Utilities explains about overflow relief gullies and their purpose.


What does an overflow relief gully do?

When the sewer line gets overloaded from excess water or when a blockage develops in the mainline, overflow relief gullies play a big role in making sure that dirty water does not back up inside the home. It is a part of home maintenance to make sure that your overflow relief gully is working properly.

TIPS to take care of your ORG:

  • Make sure your ORG is free from any obstructions at all times. Potted plants, leaves, miscellaneous laundry or garden items should never be placed on top of the grate. Grass and shrubs can also creep into the line and cause blockages. Make it a habit to keep them off the ORG.
  • Top grate is not corroded, stuck in place, filled with dirt or concreted in. The top grate of the ORG must be loosely fitted to allow water to overflow when blockages occur.
  • The area around the ORG should be clear of clutter. The water that overflows must be free to flow away. Make sure that there are no excess soil, garden or laundry equipment near the ORG that could hinder sewer water from flowing freely away.
  • Never get rid of grease or food scraps through your ORG. Don’t pour hot water or drain acids either. You might end up damaging the pipe underneath. It is always a good idea to get your gullies, sewer lines and other pipelines cleared once a year to maintain proper drain flow.
  • Ensure that other pipes such as gutter/tank downpipe or pool backwash are not draining into the ORG. This can cause and the sewer line to overload which may lead to wastewater overflow.
  • Ensure that ORG is still set on the right level when carrying out renovations at the property. Remember that overflow relief gullies should always be lower than any other waste outlet at your home.

If you are planning a renovation including plumbing work at your property, it is good practice to get your builder to discuss the plans with your plumber first to ensure that proposed works will be compliant with Australian plumbing standards. Failure to comply can result in a fine or denied home insurance.

Where to find it?

ORG’s are normally located in the ground outside your home, maybe in the garden or near the laundry area. ORG sizes and shapes may vary but they must all follow and comply with the AS3500 Plumbing Regulation. An ORG must be at least 150mm lower than the lowest fitting/drain and at least 75mm above ground level.

Queensland Urban Utilities says: If you can’t locate your ORG, we also recommend contacting a licensed plumber. It may have been covered by landscaping or concrete and this could lead to plumbing issues in the future.

Should I be concerned if I can’t find an ORG?

Some properties constructed before 1976 may not have an overflow relief gully unless recent renovations have been done. If your property is included in this category, then you may want to call a plumber now to discuss the installation of an overflow relief gully.

Moreover, you should contact a licensed plumber if you have the following concerns:

  • If you can’t find an ORG at your property.
  • If you suspect that the ORG is not installed correctly.
  • If the ORG grate is concreted or permanently stuck or can’t be removed manually.
  • When you see foreign objects on the ORG drain.
  • Since the top grate can be lifted off, pets and/or children can drop toys, rocks or pieces of garbage into the line. Over time, sand or soil can also accumulate inside and around the ORG, these could hinder the sewer overflow.
  • When the sewage is overflowing from the ORG and the drains in your home are not draining properly.
  • If you suspect a blockage in your sewer line or if your ORG is regularly overflowing.

Safety tip:

Overflowing sewer is a health issue. As you may well know, sewage contains harmful microorganisms that can cause a variety of illnesses. Never attempt to clear an overflowing gully without proper protective clothing. Get a professional to do this for you as soon as possible. Also, avoid flushing any more water into the toilet or drains. This will cause more sewer water to overflow or worst back up inside your home.

Who can help?

We can! Look, the bitter truth is that no home is impervious to blockage. At one point or another, a blockage may appear at your property. No need to panic. Just make sure that you address the blockage before it becomes worse and calls a professional to take over and solve the problem.

At Gold Coast Plumbing Experts, we specialise in locating and clearing blockages in overflow relief gullies and pipelines.

Our plumbers have years of experience and training in dealing with all kinds of drain blockages. We know that a plunger will not work in your situation. We have bigger and powerful drain clearing tools to clean overflow relief gullies. We carry the jet rodding machine and CCTV drain camera in our vehicles all the time.

How can we help?

When you need a plumber Gold Coast wide, we can assist by inspecting your overflow relief gully and ensure it is doing its job.

clearing overflow relief gully

Clearing out blockages

When the water level is high in your overflow relief gully or if it is already overflowing, this may indicate a problem in your main sewer line. This is concerning because it means that the blockage is no longer localised in a single drain in the property. You may have a major blockage such as tree roots choking the sewer line. Since water flow is impeded, this opens the possibility of dirty sewer water backing up in your bath drain or toilet.

At this point, we will use the jet rodding machine to clear the line or push the clog out to the council connection point. A jet rodding machine has a nozzle that spews out high-pressure water that can force the block to dislodge and flow out to the council connection point. It is guided by a CCTV drain camera and locator that provides a visual inspection of your property’s sewer line.

Repairs and Renovations

Don’t worry if you are unsure if your ORG is compliant with plumbing standards, we will take care of it for you. We have years of experience in dealing with bathroom, laundry and kitchen renovations to know more than enough to carry out an upgrade/conversion of the ORG at your property. From simple alterations to complete fitting and installation, we got you covered!

We also carry out drain and sewer line repairs for severe cases where the drains need to be dug and replaced. If you need a plumber in Arundel, Coolangatta, Southport, Reedy CreekNerang or anywhere else on the Gold Coast please do not hesitate to call us at 1300 600 632. Our expert team of local plumbers would be happy to help out!