Do's & Don'ts of Life with an Onsite Wastewater Treatment System

If you look after your wastewater treatment system and land application area, you will avoid unnecessary and expensive repairs.

DO construct and maintain diversion drains around the top sides of your land application area to divert surface water.

DO ensure that your land application area is kept level by filling any depressions with good quality top soil (not clay).

DO keep the grass regularly mowed and plant small trees around the perimeter to aid absorption and transpiration of the treated wastewater.

DO ensure that any stormwater run-off from the roof, driveway and other impermeable surfaces is directed away from your land application area.

DO ensure appropriate Warning signs are visible at all times in the vicinity of a spray irrigation area.

DO visually check your irrigation system regularly to ensure the sprays are operating and free from blockages.

DO use biodegradable cleaning products labelled “septic safe”. Do not use products that contain disinfectants (ie chlorine, bleach) benzine or phosphates. Benzine converts to carbolic acid which is a strong disinfectant.

DO spread your washing loads over the week, eg 1 or 2 loads per day.

DO renew your annual maintenance service agreement.

DO contact your service provider if you have any queries or concerns.

DO react immediately if the alarm is activated to eliminate the problem as soon as possible. Refer to the fault finding section in your treatment system's Owner's Guide.


DO NOT erect any structures, construct paths, graze animals or drive over your land application area.

DO NOT plant large trees or shrubs that shade your land application area, as the area needs sunlight to aid in the evaporation and transpiration of the treated wastewater.

DO NOT plant trees or shrubs near or on house drains.

DO NOT allow stormwater lines to discharge into or near your land application area.

DO NOT water fruit and vegetables with the treated wastewater.

DO NOT extract treated wastewater for potable (drinkable) use.

DO NOT flood your land application area through the use of hoses or sprinklers from potable water sources.

DO NOT use in-sink garbage disposal units.

DO NOT dispose of foreign objects into the system (eg nappy liners, disposable nappies, sanitary products, condoms, plastic etc). A foreign or man-made object will not break down and may block the system.

DO NOT use strong caustic alkalis, oils, bleaches, disinfectants or chemical detergents. These items kill the purifying bacteria, which will cause odours and damage your system.

DO NOT pour large quantities (½ litre or more) of beer, wine, milk or fruit juice into the system. This also applies to small amounts of these items every day (eg cereal and milk left-over from breakfast; baby bottles) - do not pour or rinse down the drain.

DO NOT exceed the maximum design load or subject the system to hydraulic shock loads (use of washing machine and shower/emptying bath at the same time).

DO NOT use hair dyes as the peroxide in the dye will kill the bacteria in the system.

DO NOT switch off the power to the system.

Author Credits ::

David Archer
Service & Repair Wastewater Systems
P O Box 3022
West Ipswich QLD 4305
Ph: 0417 63 65 64