How To Handel an Overflowing Sewer System

How To Handel an Overflowing Sewer System

Most plumbing problems are messy, but an overflowing sewer system has to be one of the worst problems of all. Any sewer system problem can be very inconvenient and will likely require urgent attention. However, unlike a blocked toilet, an overflowing sewer system won’t only disrupt your ability to use the bathroom; it will also spew our raw sewage on your property. I don’t need to tell you how bad it will smell, but you may not consider how hazardous it can be to your health, especially if you have little ones running around.

An overflowing sewer system is one of the most unpleasant plumbing emergencies of all. If you smell sewage around your home and it’s not coming from your toilet, then it may be a result of sewer system overflow… and this can be worse than if it were merely coming from a single toilet. You first need to locate your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG) to see if this is the source of the smell and if it’s overflowing with wastewater, which is the more pleasant term for raw sewage!

As expert plumbers servicing the areas of East AucklandSouth Auckland, and Hauraki Plains, we’ve fixed countless sewer system overflows and know how to handle such an event. Today, we will share with you how to locate your ORG and what to do if you have an overflowing sewer system.

How to locate your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG)

Overflow Relief Gully

Your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG) should be pretty easy to locate on your property. It will look something like the photo above and will be found around the perimeter of your home, usually against one of the exterior walls and usually near your laundry or kitchen. The primary function of an ORG is to prevent your home from overflowing with sewage. Rather than the sewage coming back up your toilet or internal drains, it escapes through the ORG.

You will easily know if the smell is coming from your ORG. Sewage will be visible, and the grate cover may have even popped off.

What to do if you have an overflowing ORG

If you can see sewage overflowing from your ORG, then you will need to call a plumber right away.

Sewage overflowing an ORG usually results from a blocked sewage pipe somewhere in your home, preventing your wastewater from reaching the sewer main. The diagram below outlines a standard sewer system. If there is a blockage anywhere in the orange pipes, wastewater will overflow from the ORG.

Sewer System

The blockage may result from items being flushed down the toilet that shouldn’t have, such as tampons and sanitary pads, nappies, and wet wipes. It can also be a result of a broken or cracked pipe.

The smallest of cracks expose nutrient wastewater which is the perfect environment for tree roots. Roots will sniff out a hairline crack, invading the pipe to reach the wastewater source. The roots eventually get so thick that it causes complete sewer pipe blockage, leading to the overflow. You can learn more about tree root infiltration by reading my post, ‘Are Tree Roots Blocking Your Drains?’.

How a plumber fixes an overflowing ORG

The first thing we as plumbers do when faced with sewage overflowing from an ORG is to locate the source of the blockage. We first use our hydro jetter. With an astonishing 5000pSi of water pressure, it will flush out the most suborn blockages. If, however, the overflow is a result of a broken pipe filled with dirt and debris or tree root infiltration, we can send our CCTV camera down the ORG to locate the exact point of the blockage for manual repair.

Our equipment lets us know exactly where to dig to get to the point of the blockage, which saves time and money. We can then cut out and replace the damaged and blocked part of the sewer pipe to get your system running again.


If your Overflow Relief Gully (ORG) is overflowing with sewage, then you need to call a plumber fast. There is a blockage in the system preventing the wastewater from reaching the sewer main, which can usually only be fixed by a qualified licensed plumber, like iSpecialise!

Contact us today by calling 09-2322 895 or by completing the following enquiry form.

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