What is an Onsite Septic System?
Some properties, generally rural or semi rural properties, are not connected to the Council Sewer System. These properties will require their own Onsite Sewage Treatment system to treat and dispose of all wastewater produced on the property.
Choosing an Onsite Sewerage System
Choosing an Onsite Sewage system for your property can be confusing. There are a number of systems available which all do a great job – this only becomes a problem when you try and choose between them.
Traditional Septic tanks usually consisted of a single treatment chamber (Primary treatment system). Modern, more advanced Secondary sewage systems have two or more chambers and use a combination of filters, microorganisms and oxygen to treat and purify waste water. Whangarei Council now requires the installation of a Secondary treatment system on most properties.
Onsite Sewage Systems do require maintenance and there can be running costs which will differ from system to system. The two most commonly compared costs are the Service Maintenance Costs and Operating Costs.
Regular Servicing – Whangarei Council now requires that property Owners enter into a Service Agreement with the system Supplier (or their agent) for regular service visits. Most onsite systems require an Annual Check up and cost between $150 – $200 each year.
Electrical Supply – Some systems require an electrical connection. This is usually a minimal ongoing cost. For Example: The Duracrete Cleanstream requires a small pump which pumps the liquid sewage to the textile media. This runs for 30 seconds, 4 times an hour. The power to do this costs around 32 cents a day. (Source)
You will need a Wastewater Engineer to calculate the size system that you will need for your property. This report will be needed by Council in order to be granted consent to install the system.
The size of the onsite system will depend on a number factors including: the size of your home, the number of people living in the home, and also the property itself.
If your system isn’t big enough, this could result in surface water getting contaminated with harmful bacteria and other contaminants.
The disposal of wastewater from your Septic system will require an effluent field design. This can consist of soakage fields or specially designed soakage beds. Your Engineer will test and design the fields based on your needs and property.
Depending on the type of soil on your section, your Soakage treatment fields may need to be planted out with specific plants. The job of these effluent plants is to absorb the water released by the system and maintain it’s effectiveness. This is particularly useful in areas where ground has a higher water content or higher clay content.
How Much Does this all Cost?
There is no sugar coating this one. Installing an Onsite Sewer System will cost thousands of dollars and will need to be factored into your building costs. On receipt of your Engineers report and after a site inspection, we can give you a FIXED PRICE Quote for the supply and installation of your onsite sewer system.
Be sure to include the following costs in your calculations:
- Wastewater design fee (this must be done by either a Wastewater Engineer or Environmental Engineer)
- building and resource consent fees
- Annual Maintenance costs
- Planting and mulching of your soakage treatment area (if needed)
Suitable Plants for Effluent Disposal Fields
Your Engineers design will most probably include a list of suitable plants to use in your effluent soakage fields. For more options, here is a list of suitable Plants to use in your Effluent Disposal Fields. Source: Northland Regional Council)
Download the Homeowners Guide on how to Maintain your Onsite Sewer System (Source: Northland Regional Council)
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