Caring For Your Wastewater System

Powdered laundry detergents foul the environment and harm wastewater systems. Most powdered laundry detergents typically contain a minority of active ingredients with most of the contents just “fillers” which don’t have any cleaning benefit.  The usual filler is sodium sulphate, otherwise known as Borax, and this will have serious impact on your wastewater systems.

The sodium swells clay particles and reduces the soakage of soils in the disposal area.  (The extreme version of this can be seen in the wet, rank pasture in low-lying areas near the sea caused by sodium in sea water.  The sulphate is then converted to Hydrogen Sulphide (rotten egg smell) by bacteria, and this gas is further converted to sulphuric acid which corrodes septic system components.  Even products claiming to be “eco” or “green” can be guilty.

For detailed Australian studies, refer to work done by Robert Patterson WWW.LANFAXLABS.COM.AU

To avoid rotten egg smells, corrosion of your plant and worsening soil soakage, use liquid laundry detergents at all times.

Maintaining Your Outlet Filter

Maintaining Your Outlet Filter

The outlet filter is located on the outlet of the septic tank and is there to prevent the transfer of solid material into the secondary treatment system or irrigation system if you have a primary treatment system. This would create significant problems with not only the pumps but also clogging the secondary treatment or irrigation lines.

Depending on your habits, use of the system and if you have an infestation of “septic tank” moths the outlet filter might need to be cleaned out as often as once a month to maintain a free flow through the septic tank.

Here are a few steps to enable you to clean the filter yourself between routine scheduled maintenance by our maintenance team.

  1. Remove the 150mm cap on the outlet side of your septic tank.
  2.  Either wear disposal gloves or ensure that you maintain good hygiene (thoroughly clean your hands after), turn the filter anti-clockwise and pull the filter up by the handle out of the casing.Hold the filter away from you and anyone else and use a hose to spray it down. It would be good if you can do this in a location that is not walked or played on by you, your family or pets (ie. back of the house, in the garden, digging a hole in the lawn etc.). Wash the filter until you see no more waste on it. Try not to spray near or towards people to prevent waste from landing on them.
  3. Once the filter is clean, insert it back into the casing, turn clockwise to lock in place, and replace the lid. Ensure that the white section of the filter is facing the outlet otherwise no water will exit the septic tank and cause a backlog.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Or, next time we complete your scheduled service we can show you how to do it. You will need to make an appointment so that we can arrange a suitable time to see you.

On Site Wastewater System Sizing

On Site Wastewater System Sizing

A common misconception is that the size of a house or number of bathrooms is what dictates the size of an on-site wastewater system. The other one is that “It will only be the two of us living here, so why does the system have to be so big?”

Septic systems have to be able to handle the likely occupancy at any time in its life. For example, if you sell the house to some who occupies every room possible.

Therefore the size of the wastewater system for residential homes is based solely on the number of bedrooms or rooms that could be used as bedrooms (such as a study, media or rumpus rooms) there is in a house. The guidelines that council requires we use stipulates the possible occupancy based on bedroom numbers:

   Number of Bedrooms.   Occupancy for Design Purposes.
   1   2
   2   4
   3   5
   4   6
   5   8
   6   9

The reason that council is strict with this rule is that it needs to be sure that the possible wastewater flows from a dwelling will be able to be treated, thus avoiding any public health or environmental risks of an overloaded wastewater system.

Reflection Systems | Maintenance is Key

Reflection Systems | Maintenance is Key

One of the most common questions we get asked is about maintenance – does it have to be done and how often?  The answer to that question is in multiple parts, covering individual system’s specs and the legal requirement by local councils and warranty issues.

To start, let’s look at the legal aspect.  In the Greater Auckland area under the current TP58 v3 and Air Land and Water Plan of October 2010, any system installed since October 2004 must have twice yearly maintenance.  There may be suppliers who advise otherwise, but rules are rules, and to get Code of Compliance you must agree to this requirement.  If you are outside of the Auckland area, then whatever the local council requires is what you should follow.

What is the flip side? Does your system require twice yearly maintenance?  Well, that’s up to the manufacturer and end user.  Are you a “flush the toilet and I don’t want to know the person”, or an “I’m a hands-on person”?  Reflection Wastewater Treatment systems don’t need to have twice-yearly maintenance for people who are hands-on, careful users.  Most people don’t want to know, so we stick with the rules and as such Councils know we always do the right thing.

Bottom line – if suppliers are promoting once yearly maintenance for the Greater Auckland area, they are breaking the rules.

Remember, to bring you peace of mind on the long-term reliability of your system, we offer a Maintenance Agreement and, for a small fee, we’ll carry out a six-monthly inspection, which includes checking pumps, flushing out any biological material build-up and providing a report to the owner on any necessary remedial work.

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