News » Earthquake household checks

Earthquake household checks

Monday 14th of November 2016
health & safety

The recent earthquakes will have caused damage to water supply, sewerage and stormwater drainage systems around the country.

In the aftermath of an earthquake, local authorities work in the streets to re-establish utility services and the owner of the gas networks will be ensuring the safety of their infrastructure.

Please be aware that householders must take responsibility for the safety of these services within their own properties.

Water supply

  Problem Immediate Action
Supply to the house  This may have been broken where buried by ground movement, or where it enters the house.    - Turn off at the toby (this will eliminate risk of leakage when main supply is restored)
- Inspect for signs of leakage
  Water supplies may have been contaminated with sewage entering broken supply pipes.   - Boil all drinking water
Piping within the house Supply tanks and hot water cylinders may have split or moved, breaking the connecting pipes.   - Turn off electricity to water heater 
- Inspect cylinders and tanks and connected piping
- Check connection between cistern and toilet
  Piping in walls may be broken if there has been structural damage to the house.   - Look for signs of leakage
Conserve water    - Minimise usage
- Collect rainwater

Sewage and wastewater disposal

  Problem Immediate Action
Piping within the house  Piping may be broken if there has been structural damage to the house.   - Inspect where possible
- Look for signs of breakage or leakage
- Check toilet and its connection to soil drain
Plumbing fixtures  Fixtures may be cracked or damaged, particularly if ceramic.  - Check fixtures for damage (toilet, bath, basins, shower base and surround)
Drains—sewers and stormwater These may have been broken where buried by ground movement, or where they connect with the house. - Inspect
- Check that waste pipes discharge to gully traps
- Check connection of downpipes to stormwater drains
Minimise usage City sewerage system is disrupted. - Avoid using the sewer
- Use a bucket or bowl for washing
- Throw the used water over the land or put into a hole
- Bury soil wastes 
- Don't put them down the toilet or drains
Septic tanks and wastewater treatment systems Tanks may have split or moved breaking connections to inlet and discharge pipes. - Inspect

Gas

  Problem Immediate Action
Reticulated supply to the house  This may have been broken where buried by ground movement, or where it enters the house.    - Turn off at the main valve 
- Inspect
- Smell for signs of leakage
Supply from cylinders Supply cylinders may have moved, breaking the connecting pipes.   - Turn off at the main valve
- Inspect
- Smell for signs of leakage
Piping within the house Piping in walls may be broken if there has been structural damage to the house.   - Inspect
- Get a gasfitter to apply a pressure test for leakage
Gas appliance flues Flues and flue connections could be dislodged. - Inspect
- Ensure flue is intact and clear of combustible material

Repairs

All work on household water supply, drains and gas installation must be done by appropriately licensed persons. If your inspection has identified problems, or your need assistance in carrying out this inspection, contact your local Master Plumber.

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