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Maintain Your Septic System

What Goes Into Your System

Your septic system operates best under certain conditions, consider the below simple actions to help ensure your system works effectively or check out Factsheet Two: Household Discharges to Septic.


Minimise water entering the system to reduce the likelihood of overloading. Overloading can saturate your effluent disposal area, which can cause wastewater to pool on the ground. To reduce water entering your system:

  • Install water saving devices
  • Purchase water efficient appliances
  • Have shorter showers
  • Spread out operation of major water consuming devices over the week (e.g. washing machine)
  • Wait until you have a full load before using the dishwasher or washing machine
  • Repair leaking taps and toilets.


Your septic system contains a delicate ecosystem of bacteria that help to treat your wastewater, ensuring that the water that leaves the system meets required standards. Do the following to protect your bacteria:

  • Avoid harsh chemicals, e.g. bleach
  • Choose low phosphorous detergents
  • Use low sodium laundry detergents
  • Elect Septic Safe products wherever possible

Food Products

When large quantities of food particles enter the wastewater system it slows down its function and potentially alters the bacterial composition. Fats and oils can also solidify in parts of the septic system, restrict or blocking the flow of water. To avoid this try the following tips:

  • Use a sink strainer to capture food debris
  • Do not pour oil and fats down the sink
  • Wipe grease out of pans and dishes before washing them
  • Don’t dispose of waste food or coffee grounds down the sink.

Non-degradable Products

Products that are not easily biodegradable should never be disposed of in a septic system. These will only serve to reduce the proper functioning of your system and possibly cause it to fail. Such items include:

  • Sanitary products
  • Baby wipes and cleaning wipes
  • Hair
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Nappies
  • Bandaids and wound dressings
  • Cat litter