How do I find out where drinking water, wastewater (sewer) and stormwater networks are located?
Council owned (public) networks (i.e. manholes, pipes, fire hydrants) can be located within both public land (i.e. roadways and berms) and private land.
Regional drinking water, stormwater and wastewater app
The Regional Water Stormwater Wastewater App is a mapping tool that allows you to explore water, wastewater, and stormwater networks across the Wellington region managed by Wellington Water.
Although this is a great tool for indicating where public services are expected to be located, it is recommended that the location, depths and measurements of services are confirmed on the ground before starting any design works.
This mapping tool is primarily for showing the expected position of public water, wastewater and stormwater. Some private sewer and stormwater information is also available. Clicking on a utility feature (such as a drain or manhole) will reveal further information about the asset, such as pipe size, material, depth etc. Sometimes when you click on a feature the drain or manhole detail you are looking for may not be the first item given and you will need to use the arrow on the top of the inquiry box to the information you want.
The application also has a drop-down legend and layers list available in the top right-hand corner of the application.
What is the difference between public and private networks?
Public networks are owned by Councils and serve the wider community. These assets can be found both on public and private land.
The pipes that were installed to serve only your property (but sometimes others as well) are generally private and are not owned or maintained by Council or Wellington Water.
Public networks are the responsibility of Council and if there are any issues or concerns such as leaks or blockages, then Wellington Water will investigate and resolve these issues on behalf of the Council.
If there are issues with private drains or water supply then it is the responsibility of the private owner(s) to resolve these issues.
What are shared or common private drains or pipes?
Sometimes private drainage is installed and shared by more than one house or property. This is common in unit title developments but can also be found in some fee simple developments. In these cases, it is the responsibility of all the properties that connect to the shared or common drain to work together to resolve issues.
CCTV Inspections to locate and confirm condition
Close Circuit Television (CCTV) is a useful tool for confirming the position and interior condition of private and public pipes.
An operator is engaged to access the network (commonly through a network opening like a manhole or gully trap) and pushes a special (video type) camera up or down the drain. The images are recorded to document the inspection and reviewed to confirm the condition. At the same time an operator can track the camera from above ground and mark out the position (and often an indicative depth) of the drain.
Wellington City Council currently (2019) offers a CCTV mark out service for public drains on private land within the city boundaries – this is not available through other councils This offer from WCC is generally free, except where access is required from a road way and a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) in required. In these cases, the applicant will need to arrange for and cover the expense of obtaining the TMP. This service is not provided for private drains. To request a CCTV mark out you will need to contact the Wellington City Council service team.
Wellington Water requires CCTV inspections of drains (normally at the landowners/developers expense) in the following situations:
- To determine the condition of an existing private drain (under 25 years old) when you are proposing to reuse this drain for a new building
- To locate both public and private drains where the exact alignment cannot be confirmed onsite
- At the completion of all works that result in drains being vested to Council to become public network – part of the approval process when proposing to adjust, upgrade, extend or amend the stormwater and wastewater networks
- When construction works such as piling, heavy machinery, or excavation is to be carried out within close proximity (1.5 meters) of an existing drain – this will require CCTV to be carried out prior to the works and following completion of the works
- When requesting to build over a drain