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Wollongong City Council

Maintaining onsite sewage systems

It’s important you look after your onsite sewage system to protect the health of people and the environment.

Council regularly inspects systems to make sure they’re working properly.

You also need to update your approval to operate the system at least every three years.

  • Make sure you know the location and layout of your system
  • Make sure the system can be easily accessed for pump outs and maintenance
  • Get collection tanks de-sludged every 3 to 5 years to prevent clogs
  • Have a professional regularly service the system in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Keep a record of all pump outs, maintenance, inspections and repairs
  • Clean out the grease trap at least every three months
  • Regularly check any inspection ports on your system
  • Try to reduce your water use to avoid waterlogging and extend the life of your system
  • Use household products and detergents that are suitable for sewage systems – look for detergents with low phosphorous where possible
  • Keep your system watertight and mosquito-proofed
  • Repair leaking taps and toilets as soon as you notice them.
  • Don’t let large amounts of harsh chemicals like bleaches, disinfectants, cleaners, nappy soakers and drain cleaners enter the system
  • Don’t flush nappies, tampons, condoms, wipes, cat litter or similar items into the system
  • Don’t use more than recommended amounts of detergent
  • Don’t put fats and oils down the drain
  • Don’t use a garbage disposal unless it’s designed to suit your system
  • Don’t switch off any power supply to the system (eg for pumps), even if you’re going away
  • Don’t drive over your land application area or do anything else to compact the soil.

Problems with systems can harm your health and the environment, reduce the life or your system, and even lead to fines. So it’s in everyone’s interest to keep them in good shape.

Keep an eye out for signs your system is not working properly, and deal with any issues straight away.

Some of the things to watch for include:

  • Overflowing tanks or collection wells
  • Water draining too slowly from household sinks or fittings
  • Sewage odour
  • Effluent (wastewater) surfacing at the disposal area or other parts of your property
  • Continual damp patches near the system
  • Excess noise from pump or blower equipment.

Contact a professional to help with any issues.