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Inspection Openings (IO) or Inspection Openings to Surface (IOS) are important points in the sewerage infrastructure and are installed to enable access to your underground sewer pipes in the event of a blockage. 

Sewer Inspection Opening Enquiries

For same-day service, call (07) 5580 4311. For non-urgent repairs, feel free to send us your details.

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Inspection openings are important points in the sewerage infrastructure and are installed to enable access to your underground sewer pipes in the event of a blockage. 


What Is a Sewer Inspection Opening To Surface?

The sewer inspection opening to surface or IOS is installed as part of your home’s plumbing sewer house drain infrastructure. An IOS is connected to a 100mm pipe shaft from the underground sewer pipe. This allows you to see if the sewerage drainage system is holding sewage at that particular point.

 The IOS is usually at the front or rear property boundary where your house drain connects to the City of Gold Coast sewer connection. First, you need to know where your IOS is located. The property owner is responsible for maintaining them and ensuring they are unobstructed and easily accessible. An IOS is approximately two metres from the front or back of your property boundary.

 The City of Gold Coast manages and maintains the sewer up to the connection point with your property. This connection point is called the inspection opening (IO). As shown in the diagram below, any pipes or fittings upstream of this are your responsibility as the property owner.

Identifying Your Sewer Inspection Opening to Surface

A sewer inspection opening or IOS is typically identified by a flat PVC round cover approximately 200mm in diameter, and several may be located on your property. Only the one at the boundary is the sewer inspection opening. If you have several other IOS, as in the photo below, that is positive as they are access points into your sewer house drain.

If your home was constructed before 1985, likely, you do not have a sewer inspection opening at the boundary.

An easily accessible sewer inspection opening to the surface of your property will assist you if your drains are blocked by:

  • determining whether the blockage is located in your property or the council’s sewerage infrastructure
  • reducing sewage overflows
  • preventing expensive excavation from finding the underground inspection opening

The sewer inspection opening is installed at the time of construction of your home. Despite popular misconceptions, the City of Gold Coast has no responsibility for your sewer inspection opening concerning:

  • locating your IO or IOS
  • installation of a new IO or IOS
  • excavation to find your existing IO
  • work to raise your IO to ground level for an IOS

Even if you experience blocked drains in your drains or the council’s sewerage infrastructure, all of the above is the property owner’s responsibility.

sewer inspection opening installed by whywait plumbing

Accessing Your Sewer Inspection Opening

As the property owner, you must maintain and keep the inspection shaft and sewer inspection opening to the surface (IOS) accessible and bare of plants or debris at all times. If there is a blocked drain in your home, the IOS is the first place that Whywait’s Plumbing Technicians will locate and open up to access your home’s sewage house drain infrastructure. 

For obvious health reasons, it is not recommended that you ever screw open the access cover on the sewer inspection opening to the surface, as it is a live sewer connection.

The only time the access cover needs to be unscrewed is if you have blocked household sewer drains. The inspection to surface or IOS is then required to be opened and accessed to determine whether the blockage is in your sewer house drain or the City of Gold Coast sewerage infrastructure.

The sewer inspection opening to the surface is there for your protection and is a legal requirement in Queensland under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 which calls into law AS/NZS 3500.2:2018, which specifically requires:

Clause 4.7.4 Access to inspection openings the following applies:

  1. At least one inspection opening shall be raised to finished surface level on each main drain,
  2. Where raised to finished surface level, inspection openings shall be provided with airtight removable caps and protected by a cover and surrounded in such a manner that no traffic or structural loads can be transmitted to the drain.

What Do You Do If You Have No Sewer Inspection Opening?

If you cannot locate a sewer inspection opening to the surface on your property or if it has been damaged, we recommend the following:

  • Contact us at (07) 5580 4311 to undertake a site inspection or repair of the damaged IOS
  • If we cannot locate the IOS, we will lodge an application for sewerage infrastructure drawings for your property for the location of your sewer connection.
  • Once we obtain the infrastructure drawings, we will locate the sewer connection point on your property and present you with options for having a sewer inspection opening to surface installed

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Really positive experience. Reasonably priced and on time. Nathan was professional, friendly and well presented. He went through all the potential costs and outlined exactly he planned to do so no expensive surprises. Will definitely use them again.

Kelly Murray

Sewer Inspection Opening Advice

For all plumbing, drainage & gas emergencies please call (07) 5580 4311 for rapid response service. For all other plumbing repairs feel free to email us for assistance.

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