Rules for onsite wastewater systems
The rules for inspecting and maintaining onsite wastewater systems are set by the Auckland Unitary Plan.
- a primary system needs to be inspected every three years
- a secondary or tertiary system needs to be inspected every six months.
Maintenance involves inspecting your system and cleaning or repairing any parts that might be blocked, damaged or worn.
The sludge and scum needs to be pumped out when it fills half the volume of the tank. This work should always be done by a trained professional.
Faulty onsite wastewater systems
Without proper maintenance, your system can stop treating your wastewater.
Faulty onsite wastewater systems can harm human health and the environment.
It is important to manage offensive odours, effluent seepage and other forms of pollution caused by faulty onsite wastewater systems.
Your system needs maintenance if you notice:
- a blockage or overflow of sewage waste
- broken tank lids
- murky or smelly puddles on your property
- scum and sludge build-up in your septic tank.
Where you can, avoid:
- overloading your system with too much water
- letting rain into your system
- putting harsh cleaning products, other chemicals, food waste or rubbish into your system.
If you don't maintain your system properly, you can be fined for each day the faulty system is used.
Find a contractor online by searching for "Septic tank services".
Upgrade your onsite wastewater system
The design of your onsite wastewater system needs to suit the way it is used. Review your onsite wastewater system if:
- you are renovating your house
- more people will live on your property
- your summer holiday home becomes your permanent residence
- you start to host a lot of visitors.
The above changes mean more water will flow through your system, putting more strain on how well your tanks and disposal field can treat your sewage and wastewater.
If you upgrade your onsite wastewater system or build a new one, you will need to apply for a building consent and may need a resource consent.
See Install or alter an onsite wastewater system.
Waitākere pump-out programme
We pump out standard septic tanks, long drops and grease traps every three years for properties in the former Waitakere City Council area.
Property owners pay a targeted rate for this service, but still need to arrange their own inspections with a private company.
This does not cover secondary or tertiary systems, which need more frequent maintenance.
The current contract is due to end in June 2021. After this there may be changes to how the pump-out scheme is delivered.