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Ensure Your Family’s Safety After Heavy Rain and Flooding

In the wake of South East Queensland's heavy rain from the remnants of deadly Tropical Cyclone Debbie, HEALTH AND SAFETY MUST REMAIN A KEY PRIORITY.

The Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland (MPAQ) is warning people not to become complacent and to place plumbing checks at the top of the priority list along with electrical work.

MPAQ President, Mr Kelvin Slade says, “Checking the property’s plumbing and fixtures will need to be a priority in order prevent disease and safeguard public health. I would urge those affected by the rain to pay particular attention to the key plumbing issues that can impact on health.”

Residents should contact a local Master Plumber to check on:

  • Drainage or septic overflows (contamination of surrounding area due to a surcharge or the ingress of water)
  • Silted or blocked drains (drains being full of silt due to muddy flood waters)
  • Gas regulators and burners on appliances such as hot water systems, ovens and barbecues that could be wet and blocked with silt
  • Gas bottles that may have floated or moved with flood waters causing leaks in the gas system
  • Valves exposed to floodwaters may need replacing or retesting to ensure correct operation
  • Tank water and other alternate water systems should also be checked
  • Downpipes that are connected to underground storm water drains which may be blocked with silt

Mr Slade said, “Water tanks that have had flood water enter the tank will not be fit for consumption and need to be checked for contamination levels; this is especially important where tank water is the drinking water supply or supplying other fixtures in the house.”

Parents need to be aware of the dangers of letting kids play in flooded drains or waterways, or in puddles of flood water that may be left in yards.

“Flood water is dangerous; it is not only often fast moving but it could contain sewerage surcharge and other contaminates including E.coli,” said Mr Slade.

In the case of significant damage and you need to replace plumbing fixtures and/or fittings in rooms or behind wall sheeting, people should be mindful that all plumbing work will need to be done by a licensed person.”

Consumers are also being told to beware of scammers offering repairs or services in the wake of the wild weather and should call a Master Plumber as they hold the appropriate plumbing QBCC licenses.

Residents and home owners can contact MPAQ from Monday to Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm on 07 3273 0800 to locate a local Master Plumber in their area.


Post Rain and Flooding Fact Sheet for Your Home

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.

Can I drink the water from the taps on affected properties?
First contact your Local Government and ask if the water in your area is fit to use for drinking. If they confirm the water is fit for consumption, flush all outlets thoroughly before use. 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 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.

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 use the rain water tank for drinking?
Providing no flood water has entered the tank, it should be ok to use for drinking water. However, it is recommended that rainwater be filtered/treated prior to consumption.

I have a septic/onsite treatment plant. Can it be used?
If the subsurface dispersal area is flooded these units won’t work. If flood water has entered the tank, it will require servicing from a licensed plumber before it can be used. Furthermore, 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 smells or is discoloured?
Contact your Local Government and notify them of the problem so it can be rectified quickly.

- ENDS -

For further information contact:

Penny Cornah
Executive Director
Master Plumbers’ Association
0418 724 457
(07) 3273 0800

Ernie Kretschmer
Technical Services Manager
Master Plumbers’ Association
0418 780 351
(07) 3273 0800

The Master Plumbers' Association of Queensland (MPAQ)
is the peak industry body representing plumbing
contractors throughout Queensland, from sole operators
to medium sized plumbing businesses and large
contracting firms.
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