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Septic Tank Maintenance

 Good management of your septic tank and disposal area 

As the owner of a septic system, it is your responsibility to ensure it is well maintained and works effectively. 

If a system is well maintained, you will:

  • minimise health risks to your family and the broader community
  • protect ground and surface waters
  • prevent the degradation of land and vegetation systems
  • protect activities such as swimming and tourism that are dependent on waterways.

     

If a system is well maintained, you will:

  • minimise health risks to your family and the broader community
  • protect ground and surface waters
  • prevent the degradation of land and vegetation systems
  • protect activities such as swimming and tourism that are dependent on waterways.

The following is a guide on how to achieve the most from your system.

Do

  • Learn the location and layout of your septic system and disposal area.
  • Regularly maintain the disposal area by keeping grass short and reducing weeds.
  • Have your septic tank de-sludged every 3 – 5 years to prevent sludge build up.
  • Prevent the entry of stormwater onto the disposal area and into your septic tank.
  • Ensure your tank is well sealed.
  • Conserve water by using water efficient devices in your home.
  • Check household products for suitability for use with a septic tank
  • Have your grease trap (if installed) cleaned out regularly.
  • Keep a record of de-sludging and maintenance. 

Don’t

  • Allow livestock to graze or drive a vehicle on the disposal area.
  • Discharge wastewater into waterways, dams or drains.
  • Put large quantities of bleaches and disinfectants down the drain.
  • Allow any foreign materials such as nappies and sanitary napkins to enter the system.
  • Put fats, oils or food waste down the drain.
  • Install or use a garbage grinder or spa bath if your system is not designed for it.
  • Pour medicines/antibiotics down the drain. They can kill the essential bacteria in your septic system.

How do I know if there is a problem? 

Indications of a problem with your septic system include:

  • foul smells from the tank or disposal area
  • toilets and drains that back up or drain slowly
  • high water level in the septic tank
  • tanks not de-sludged in the last three years
  • a wet/soggy disposal area.

Do not ignore the problem. A poor performing septic system will impact on the environment and public health. It could also cost you significantly in the long term. 

For operational problems with an existing system you should contact a licensed plumber.

Further information

For advice prior to carrying out any alterations or modifications to existing systems or the installation of a new system, contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer on 9298 4598.

27/07/2017
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