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June 26, 2013
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Should ‘grey water’ from dishwashers, sinks and washing machines be directed to my wastewater treatment system? YES – grey water should in all circumstances be directed to the wastewater treatment system. Grey water is also a pollutant and if directed to the rain water system may cause contamination of waters. Take care with house extensions or alterations – don’t connect any wastewater pipes to the rain water disposal system.

How do I know if my wastewater treatment system is not working properly? Some signs that your wastewater treatment system may not be working include the following:

  • Smell of sewage from the general area of the tank and percolation area.
  • Slow draining toilets, sinks or drains or backing up of sewage at the inlet.
  • Overflow of wastewater from the tank or ponding of sewage on the percolation area.
  • Discolouration of nearby watercourses (greyish slime growths).


How often do I have to de-sludge the septic tank? It is recommended to de-sludge a septic tank at least once a year but this varies with the system’s capacity and use.  You must de-sludge the septic tank if scum is present in the second chamber or if the sludge comes up to about 400mm from the bottom of the tank. A minimum of 75mm of sludge should remain in the tank to assist in the re-seeding of the new sludge.  Regular maintenance is required to ensure that the septic tank operates effectively and that solids do not enter the percolation area and clog the distribution pipe work.

Do I really need to renew my maintenance agreements? Yes.  All on-site wastewater treatment systems require ongoing maintenance to ensure that the system is providing adequate treatment of the wastewater.  An on-going maintenance agreement should be made and renewed with an appropriately qualified person to ensure that your wastewater treatment system is working effectively at all times.