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Septic Tanks

For houses not connected to a city sewerage system, a septic tank might be your only option for dealing with toilet waste. Installing and servicing a septic tank is definitely a job for the experts, but here are some basic things to consider.

How a septic tank works

A septic tank is essentially a small-scale sewerage treatment plant. Waste from your toilet is pumped into a large tank where it is broken down by anaerobic bacteria. Clear excess liquid is drained off into a drain field.

Locating your septic tank

Your septic tank will need occasional maintenance and pumping, so make sure it's located somewhere that's accessible by vehicle, and where the heavy truck won€t drive on top of the underground tank itself.

septic tank

Septic tank permissions

You will need permission from your local council (and possibly other bodies) before installing a septic tank. Make sure you have all the plans and details ready for them to inspect.

Installing a septic tank

You may need to excavate a drop from the house to the tank so the waste can flow downhill. Then, it's a matter of laying the pipes from the house, building the tank itself, and putting in the drain field. This work should only be performed by a qualified contractor.

Septic tank maintenance

Your septic tank needs to be inspected and pumped every three to five years to remove any excess solids and ensure there are no problems. If poorly maintained, a septic tank can back up, spilling sewerage all over your property. When properly looked after, your tank should operate reliably for more than 20 years.

Septic tank care

Be careful what you flush down the drain to a septic system. Many products can damage the system or stop bacterial breakdown. Heavy toilet paper, condoms, disposable nappies or feminine hygiene products are definite no-nos, as are large amounts of fat, grease or coffee grounds.

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