Plumbing and water use

Floods and cyclones can cause significant damage to water infrastructure and housing.

This section provides tips about plumbing and water use issues after floods and cyclones.

Drinking water

If your water has an unusual smell or colour, don’t drink it. Contact your local government as soon as possible so they can fix the problem quickly.

Drinking from tap

Before you drink water from a tap on a flood-affected property, contact your local government to ask if the water in your area is fit to drink.

You should also get a licensed plumber to check all external pipework and appliances before using any water.

If the water is fit to drink, first run the tap to flush out the water that’s been sitting in the pipes.

Electrical appliances, such as water pumps, should be checked by a licensed electrician.

Drinking from a rainwater tank

If no floodwater has entered the tank, you can probably use it for drinking water.

However, you should have the rainwater filtered or treated first.

Using toilets

First contact your local council to confirm that the sewerage system in your area is operational.

If it is, you can use toilets and sanitary fixtures.

However, you should have a licensed plumber check all pipework, and flush and clean the cistern, before you use it.

Using septic system/on-site treatment plant

Because floodwater may have entered the tank, you must have a licensed plumber service the tank before use.

For treatment plants, have a licensed electrician check all electrical components before you turn the power supply on.

Checking water supply pipes

To check whether your water supply pipes are leaking:

  1. turn off all the taps
  2. check your water meter. If the dial is turning, you may have a broken pipe

Checking hot water units

  • Gas hot water system: you may need a licensed gasfitter to inspect and/or service it.
  • Solar or heat pump hot water system: you may need a licensed plumber to inspect and/or service it.

Additionally, any system using electricity should be checked by a licensed electrician.

Reconnecting gas supply

You must have a licensed gasfitter inspect all appliances, meters or regulators that have been covered or damaged by floodwater before the gas supply can be restored.

Claiming repair work on insurance

Contact your insurance company promptly after you identify the damage to process any necessary claims.

The insurance company may recommend a contractor. You can contact the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to check that the contractor holds a current licence to perform the work.