Caring for your septic tank

Caring for your septic tank

Septic Tank Maintenance

Septic tanks or treatment plants must be properly maintained. They should be cleaned on a regular basis to help with drainage and increase the life-expectancy of your tank. We recommend a clean and maintenance check every six months, to make sure everything is running smoothly. On average, a septic tank should be pumped clear of sludge every three to five years, however, some require pumping every year. If you are having issues with your septic tank, contact us today to arrange an onsite visit. Often, it is something as simple as extending the disposal area, or a quick maintenance check as opposed to needing a new tank installed.

Living with a Septic Tank

The Otago Regional Council has this great Do’s and Don’ts guide to life with a septic tank, and how to get the best out of your septic tank and keep it healthy.


  • Do scrape your dishes clean of food and fats before washing
  • Do remove sand and soil from your clothes before washing them
  • Do install water saving devices
  • Do use showers instead of baths
  • Do use biodegradable soaps and washing powder
  • Do use detergents and cleaners compatible with your system
  • Do protect your septic tanks and disposal fields from vehicle access to avoid cracking the pipes and tank.
  • Do fix leaky taps
  • Do try and avoid doing more than one full load of laundry a day.


  • Don’t use a waste disposal unit
  • Don’t flush sanitary products, disposable nappies etc
  • Don’t flush expired medicines
  • Don’t use washing machines or dishwashers unless you have full loads
  • Don’t overuse strong bleaches and disinfectants
  • Don’t put paints, weed killers and other chemicals down the drain
  • Don’t put oils, fats, or greases down your drain
  • Don’t use septic tank cleaning chemicals unless specified by the manufacturer
  • Don’t allow storm water to enter the disposal field
  • Don’t put large volumes of water through your system (e.g. from spa pools)
  • Don’t plant deep rooting trees or shrubs over the disposal field and pipes.

How to spot if your septic tank isn’t healthy and what it could be:

If you have any of these things happening on your property, with your current septic tank please don’t hesitate to give us a call. It could be something as simple as getting the sludge pumped or extending your soakage area.

What does septic tank failure usually look like?

  • Wastewater ponding at the surface
  • Smell of sewage near the septic tank or disposal field
  • Slow draining sinks and toilets
  • Sinks backing up when the toilet is flushed
  • Black and slimy areas around your tank or disposal field
  • Evidence of discharges around vents or gully traps.

Septic tank failure can result in contamination of local rivers and streams or have negative effects on people and the surrounding environment. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today if you spot any of these things with your current wastewater system.