Caring For your Septic System

Bad Odours?

Septic tanks need to operate under alkaline conditions. Some factors which can cause odour problems include:

  • Excessive use or use of the wrong type of cleaning chemicals
  • Shock volumes of incoming water (eg. From several loads of washing in quick succession.)
  • Lack of use of the system while the house has been vacant.
  • The normal bacteria may die off under acid conditions resulting in offensive odours. It is quite simple to restore the balance using hydrated lime available from hardware stores.
  • Mix 0.5kg of lime with 5 to 10 litres of water.
  • Flush the mixture down the toilet 2 times a day for 5 days, until a total of about 5kg is used.
  • If the odour persists repeat after 7 days


Mosquito Control
Ensure vents have mosquito-proof mesh fitted.
Ensure inspection openings and tanks are sealed.

Use products labelled as biodegradable or septic safe follow directions for use and use in moderation.
Use alternative cleaners such as bicarbonate of soda, pure soap, vinegar, lemon juice, cloudy amonia, etc.

Toilet Paper
Use only biodegradeable toilet paper. Facial tissues, sanitary napkins, tampons and disposable nappies or nappy liners should not be flushed down the toilet.

Food Scraps
Should go into the compost or bin, not down the sink and into your tank.

Water Use
Minimise water use, (eg. By suds-saving or spreading wash loads over the week.)

All types of septic tanks require desludging by professional contractors at least every four years. Some tanks may require more frequent pump-outs depending on size and use. Desludging prevents solid materials from passing out of the sludge chamber of the septic tank, be it a standard or aerobic system, into soakage trenches, common effluent schemes, clarification chambers or irrigation systems. Solids passing into these areas will clog the pores in the soil preventing absorbtion of effluent, or block pipes and pumps, all of which can result in costly repairs and present a risk to health when failures occur.