The Do’s and Don’ts of Maintaining your Septic Tank:

It’s important to remember that your Septic Tank is a living, breathing environment. In order to function effectively it does require a little TLC and like most home features, it will need regular maintenance.

Most septic tanks will function efficiently for many years if you follow these three basic do’s and don’t of maintaining your Septic Tank.

1. Keep a Regular Maintenance Schedule

  • EVERY 3-6 MONTHS: Check the efficiency of your disposal area. Take a walk around to inspect the ground and whether their are any changes or issues developing.
  • EVERY 6 MONTHS: Check and clean outlet filters. This may be included in your annual or six monthly service contract with your septic installer.
  • ANNUALLY:Inspect the tank annually for sludge and scum levels.
  • EVERY 3 – 5 YEARS: Your Septic tank should be pumped out approximately every 3–5 years. On inspection, if the top of the floating scum/solids is 75 mm or less from the bottom of the outlet or the sludge has built up to within 250 mm of the bottom of the outlet.

2. Keep your System Alive

Your Septic system uses bacteria to breakdown waste solids inside your septic tank. The majority of Household cleaners, strong detergents and chemicals can kill the ‘good’ bacteria within septic systems. As a homeowner your goal is to keep these bacteria alive by following a few basic guidelines:


  • Use biodegradable detergents and cleaners. These are available in most supermarkets now. Some examples include the Ecostore brand of chemicals.
  • Read the packaging of all your detergents and cleaners to see if they are suitable to use with an on-site treatment system;
  • Limit as much as possible the use of bleach-based products such as whiteners, nappy soakers and stain removers. It is preferable to soak soiled items in a bucket and dispose of away from your system.


  • Pour acids, pesticides, medicines, paint, thinners, engine oil or other materials which will kill the bacteria into your treatment system. (These should be disposed of properly at your local transfer station or landfill);
  • Pour grease or cooking oil into your treatment system; or
  • Use septic tank “cleaning chemicals”.


Your Septic Tank is a living, breathing environment. Don’t poison it with Chemicals.

3. Don’t Overload your Septic Tank

Minimise the solid and liquid waste that flows into your septic system.


  • Scrape off excess solids from dishes before putting them through the dishwasher.
  • Shake mud and sand off clothes before washing them.
  • Use water flow restrictors in your taps and water saving fixtures in your home


  • Don’t flush sanitary products, napkins, disposable nappies etc down the toilet.
  • Empty large volumes of water or solids into the system at once (eg: empty the spa)
  • Don’t let storm water or rain runoff enter the system.


Don’t flood your Septic tank with excess water or solid waste. This will reduce the effectiveness of the system.

4. Maintain and Nurture your Disposal System

Your disposal system plays a major role in your sewer disposal system.


  • Plant out your disposal area with deep rooting trees, shrubs and plants.
  • Protect your disposal area from storm water runoff, vehicles and stock.


Protect your Effluent Disposal Area.