FAQ Drainage and Sewer System Questions

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An Environmental Engineer will need to assess your site and building plans to determine the type of Wastewater system you will need. In areas where soil absorption is poor and there is no Council Sewer system to connect to, secondary wastewater systems are common.

Blackwater is wastewater from toilets, dishwashing machines and kitchen sinks. The waste water from these fixtures contain fats, detergents and contaminated waste. Greywater is waste from baths, showers and hand basins. Although it contains some soaps and chemicals, it is considered less risk to health and safety.

Drainlaying is any work involving the installation, alteration or repairs to a drain, including the fixing or unfixing of a drain to an onsite wastewater system (septic tank) or any trap. Simply put, a drainlayers job involves connecting your home to wastewater and stormwater services or systems. Your plumber runs all pipework in and under your home and the drainlayer picks it up pipes from outside the house.

All drainlaying work must be installed by a registered drainlayer and comply with the Building Code and where a building consent is required, the work must be checked by the building inspector from the building control authority in your area (your local council). A code compliance certificate cannot be issued until the work has been signed off by the building inspector. (Source)

The Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers Board has a list of all licensed drainlayers. You can check whether your Drainlayer is legally allowed to do your work here.

A certifying drainlayer is responsible for the testing, verification and the supervision of tradesman drainlayers, Journeyman drainlayers, limited certificate (trainee drainlayers) and exempted persons.

Drainlayer License Categories

Drainlaying license categories

If your property has a Council Sewerage Connection available, then you will have to connect to it (Council may allow onsite wastewater systems in certain circumstances). The process begins with a Building Consent application and a Proposed Drainage Diagram submitted to Council.

  1. You can download the Whangarei Council Building Consent Application here.
  2. You will need your Drainlayer to draw up a proposed drainage diagram for the connection. This drawing will need to accompany your Building Consent Application. If you would like to book a site visit and quote for the project, please contact us here.


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Don’t despair if you have a soggy section. Good stormwater and surface water drainage can reclaim your soggy lawn. For a FREE Drainage Quote, please contact us to book a site inspection to go through your options.

Subsoil Drainage at Work

This section has a clay subsoil and the Owners were unable to walk on it in Winter. After installing two subsoil drainage over two days, the section can now be enjoyed all year.

The four most common solutions to Septic Tank Problems are:

septic tank isnt working


If you are experiencing frequent septic tank issues, then your septic tank may not adequate for your home and site. In this circumstance, the system will need to be upgraded either by installing a more efficient system or adding soakage or distribution fields.

Please contact us if you would like to book a site visit to assess your Septic.


The short answer is ‘YES’. It is compulsory under Building Code clause G13 Foul water to connecto to the Town Sewer system IF a connection is available. There are options for on-site disposal that can be used when there is no mains sewerage available or, under discretionary circumstances. the Council issues you a waiver.

RELATED: How to Connect to Council Sewer System