Useful Information


Care and maintenance of septic tanks and wastewater treatment systems.

Living on the Western Shores you will have a septic system of sorts that you need to maintain to ensure longevity and effectiveness. Issues arise from:

  • Too much wastewater, especially in large volumes eg: full bath. Try to spread out usage when possible.
  • Using chemicals harmful to decomposing bacteria eg: disinfectants, bleaches, phosphate laden detergents (also damaging to native plants).
  • Excessive shadowing of evaporation area ie: not enough sun on your trenches and sub-irrigation areas.
  • Tree roots growing into and blocking pipes.
  • Insufficient disposal area ie: evaporation area cannot cope with the amount of liquid being processed.
  • The tank being full (of scum/sludge) and requiring a pump out. Check for odours, slow drainage.
  • Excess cooking oils and fats in the waste water which will clog up the trenches. Always use a paper towel to remove fat and grease from pans and pour excess into a collection pot. Some systems have a grease trap. If you have one remember to check it occasionally. When full, empty it and dispose of the grease sludge.
  • Too much food matter entering the tank. Scrape as much as possible into the rubbish prior to rinsing.
  • Do not dispose of nappies, hygiene and sanitary products, condoms, tissues or kitchen towel into the septic. These products will not decompose and will rapidly fill the tank with sludge which will then need pumping out.


All septic systems must be maintained to ensure no adverse impact on the environment and public health, and require approval to operate under the Local Government Act 1993. All aerated wastewater treatment systems (AWTS) must be inspected by an approved agent quarterly to ensure the system is working satisfactorily.

Pittwater Council has initiated compulsory septic inspections to be done by suitably qualified contractors who are required to complete and submit specific paperwork back to council on a regular basis (every 1-2 years depending on location of property). Property owners will be notified of inspections by Pittwater Council. For further information and an Inspection Report form – see Northern Beaches Council Website here. 


  1. Gary Hobart, Wastewater Management.
    0418 278 895 /
    Inspection services.
    AWT systems. New system advice including possible disposal areas.
  2. Phil Hebden, Pittwater Pumps; Tanks
    0414 802 081 /
    Repairs. New pumps and water tanks. Extensive local knowledge.