Onsite wastewater disposal (septic tanks)

Overview

Properties not connected to the Council wastewater system must have an onsite wastewater disposal system (commonly referred to as a septic tank) installed. Please refer to the Water New Zealand website for information on understanding and taking care of your onsite wastewater management system. 

If your property is not connected to a Council sewerage scheme or is in a community where Council has no such system, you will have an on-site wastewater system. There are a number of different systems available and the type of system you need depends on a number of factors.

If you need to install or replace an on-site wastewater disposal system, you will need to engage a suitably qualified person (on the Approved TP58 Writers List) to write a report that determines what system will be used based on the site, size of disposal area available, soil category and a number of other factors. A copy of the Approved TP58 Writers List, System Designer Guidelines and the Design On-Site Effluent Disposal Systems TP58 form are available on this website by looking under our Building Consent forms listing for TP58 forms.

The prices of both setup and on-going maintenance costs will vary between different systems. Once the system has been in and operational, Council's Onsite Wastewater Disposal Bylaw will apply.

Managing your system

Your onsite wastewater disposal system

Council maintains a register of onsite wastewater disposal systems. Each month, reminder letters are sent to home owners of systems that are due for servicing. If you would like to know what information is stored for your system please contact us.

Maintenance - assess and clean every 5 years

Council recommends installing a wastewater filter in the septic tank to prevent solids moving into the disposal field and causing blockages. Regular checks of the septic tank system should be undertaken to ensure the system is in good working order and to identify problems. 

Under the Council Bylaw septic tanks require an assessment every five years, the Independent Contractor will identify whether a pump out is required.

You should also clean your tank every five years. This is recommended in publications by both Australia/NZ Standards and The Auckland Regional Council Technical Publication 58 (TP58). There is also a proposal from the Ministry of Environment to introduce a similar rule nationwide.

All on-site disposal publications agree that irrespective of the occupancy of a dwelling, no two types of occupancy will result in similar maintenance needs. The way the systems are used differs from property to property but the Council has adopted a period which will cover most households.

How do you deal with aerated systems?

Aerated systems have maintenance agreements set out by the manufacturer of the system, which indicates when these should be serviced. If they have certified differing maintenance frequencies, this will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Home owners are encouraged to adhere to the manufacturers servicing regimes as a lack of servicing could affect the manufacturers warranty of the aerated system.

Owner responsibilities

Every property owner with a wastewater disposal system must ensure the system operates to a safe and satisfactory standard. Nuisances such as offensive odours, wastewater seepage and other forms of environmental pollution caused by system failure must be stopped. It is the responsibility of the owner to upgrade or replace the system and ensure the nuisance stops.

Where should a septic tank be located?

Your septic tank should be located as high in the ground as possible, or a manhole should be provided to bring it up to the surface. This eliminates ground water getting into the septic tank and also makes pump-outs easier.

Council recommends installing a wastewater filter in the septic tank to prevent solids moving into the disposal field and causing blockages. Regular checks of the septic tank system should be undertaken to ensure the system is in good working order and to identify problems. Under the Council Bylaw septic tanks require an assessment every five years, the Independent Contractor will identify whether a pump out is required.

How do I know if something is wrong with my septic tank?

Wastewater systems generally give warning that they are about to breakdown or fail completely. Tell-tale signs that your system needs attention include:

  • Effluent or wastewater on the ground around the septic tank and disposal field area.
  • Strong odour coming from the septic tank or disposal field.
  • Slow running drains or toilets. 

If you notice these signs, seek advice and engage a drain layer or consulting engineer who is familiar with septic tanks to give advice. 

Septage Policy

The Council operates and maintains a number of wastewater treatment plants across the district. Commercial operators who empty septic tanks require places to safely discharge septage (i.e. the contents of septic tanks) so it is treated in a controlled environment. Commercial operators are therefore permitted to discharge the septage into certain Council-operated septage disposal points. The treatment of septage is a cost to ratepayers. Emptying septic tanks for private customers constitutes a commercial enterprise so the Council has implemented a scheme to control the points at which septage can be discharged into the Council’s treatment plants, together with a charging scheme to recover the costs of its treatment. Refer to our Fees and Charges for the cost to dispose of septage.

Council-preferred contractors

Only approved contractors are authorised to dispose of septage at allocated areas.

Council-preferred septic tank contractors

Septic tank contractor

Phone

Areas serviced

Ahipara Septic Tank Cleaners

09 4094739

Services from Hihi, Kohukohu, Rangi Point, Panguru, Pawarenga, Mitimiti and north to the Cape

Allen’s Septic Tank (Northland Septic Tank Services Ltd)

0800 763559 or 09 4016009

All of Far North

Bay of Islands Plumbing and Drainage Ltd

09 4078591 or 021 716681

All of Far North

BOI Septic Tank Cleaners

027 4991123 or 09 4037730

All of Far North

E Court Septic Tank Cleaning Services

09 4011276

All of Far North

Get It Gone Septics

09 4081805 or 027 3628106 or
021 1025412

All of Far North

Kerikeri Septic Tank Cleaning Services

09 4073020 or 027 4362488

All of Far North

Rossmore Tanks Ltd (The Bog Doc)

09 4337113

Towai/Hikurangi Area

Sewage Servicing Northland

09 4071967 or 027 4472322

All of Far North

Steve's Takeaways - Septic Tank Cleaning

027 4570399 or 0800 000306

All of Far North

Sty Ltd 2016

09 4081623 or 021 1268725

All of Far North

Suckit Ltd Septic Tank Services

09 4080154 or 0800 782568

All of Far North

 

Council-preferred aerated tank contractors

Aerated Tank Contractor

Phone

Areas serviced

Advanced Wastewater Systems Ltd (Super Treat Systems Ltd)

09 4073130 or 021 407130

All of Far North

Apex Plumbers

09 4080830 or 027 4721048

All of Far North

Bay of Islands Plumbing and Drainage Ltd

09 4078591 or 021 716681

All of Far North

Dave Hesketh Plumbing

09 402 8104 or 027 285 1018

All of Far North

Duracrete Products Ltd

0800 387227

All of Far North

Enviroserve

09 4312434 or 021 1300821

All of Far North

Flush Septic Solutions

09 4016054 or 027 8446672

All of Far North

Penson Holding Ltd

09 4016116 or 021 940315

All of Far North

Pipe It Drain It

09 4079649 or 021 747248

All of Far North

Precision Drainage

09 4347286

All of Far North

Sewage Servicing Northland

09 4071967 or 027 4472322

All of Far North

S3 Ltd

0800 735 464

All of Far North

Waipapa Tanks

0800 739243 or 09 4078323

All of Far North