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Safe Septic - onsite wastewater system compliance programme

About the programme

The Safe Septic programme is funded through the Water Quality Targeted Rate. It focuses on educating property owners and ensuring onsite wastewater system compliance, as set by the Auckland Unitary Plan.

There are around 45,000 private onsite wastewater systems in the region. Proper maintenance of these systems reduces the risk of faecal contaminants (human and animal waste) entering waterways and beaches.

We have created a comprehensive compliance system. We require property owners to provide maintenance records for their onsite wastewater systems.

The programme also includes educational initiatives, providing residents with information on system maintenance.

Programme objectives

We want to improve the water quality in our rivers, streams, beaches and groundwater by ensuring the suitable maintenance of onsite wastewater systems. 

To do this we:

  • educate property owners about onsite wastewater systems and their environmental impact
  • set up processes for monitoring and prioritising responses to system issues
  • streamline communication with property owners for maintenance record requests and processing
  • provide educational materials to residents in sensitive and coastal areas on system maintenance. 

Improved record keeping

Since late 2019, we have received over 20,000 maintenance records, showing property owners are beginning to accept the change in approach and the new compliance processes.

Our centralised database helps compliance staff decide which problems to address first and helps us identify areas that need less or more support. For example, around 98 per cent of inspected systems in Piha and Little Oneroa were properly maintained.

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