Resources & FAQ

Resources – useful guides and Council links

Do's and Don’ts

A simple one page guide on how to maintain your aerated septic system and what products you can and can’t use. 

Healthy Hints

One page of handy hints to keep your aerated septic system healthy, products conserving water and unblocking drains.

Installing Septic Systems

A two page illustrated guide on what you need to know before installing an aerated septic system.  

Local Council links

Each council provides information on the application you need to submit for installing a new septic system or upgrading an existing one. Listed below are the links to the relevant page on the local Council websites for the South East NSW region.

Frequently asked questions

What is an AWTS?

An AWTS can be described as a mini treatment plant.

  • It treats all the wastewater that comes from your home. 
  • The wastewater includes black water (sewage from toilets) and grey water (from kitchen sinks, hand basins, laundry, washing machines, dishwashers, showers and baths).
  • The wastewater from your house travels through the sewer line into the AWTS tank.
  • After being processed through several chambers, the treated wastewater is then irrigated across the designated disposal area (as per the Geotechnical Report), through a variety of methods, from sub surface and surface spray irrigation to underground trenches.

Wastewater from a household is treated in stages via separate chambers within a single tank.

  • The first and second chambers are similar to a conventional septic tank. The wastewater enters the chamber where the solids settle to the bottom. A crust forms at the top, liquid in the middle and sludge accumulates at the bottom.
  • The wastewater flows into an aeration chamber which stimulates the bacteria to further break down the wastewater (anaerobic).
  • In the fourth chamber, additional clarification takes place as the solids settle, which are returned for further treatment to the septic chamber.
  • The clarified effluent is disinfected in another chamber (usually by chlorination) before automatically being pumped out of the irrigation chamber to the disposal area.

See our simple diagram of how an AWTS works.

Your development application (DA) to Council will require that you conduct a Geotechnical Report for onsite wastewater management to determine how the wastewater is treated and disposed of on your property.

It involves a soil and site assessment, and measures the potential hydraulic (water) load from the house based on the number of potential occupants. Occupancy is determined by the number of bedrooms the house has.

You may also require a Geotechnical Report if you are upgrading your septic system.

The process of a Geotechnical Report includes:

  1. Review site plan showing proposed and existing development on the property, including how many bedrooms. A closed room like a study will be counted as a bedroom.
  2. Site inspection and soil assessment.
  3. Soil testing and measuring hydraulic load based on your floor plan and number of bedrooms.
  4. Designing the wastewater solution for the property including recommendation of system type, disposal method and disposal location, including a reserve area.

An On Site Wastewater Management Report / Geotechnical Report is required with a development application (DA) or when you are changing or upgrading your existing septic system

You need approval if you are:

  1. Planning to construct a new residence or building in a non-sewered area. 
  2. You are expanding or renovating an existing house or building. 
  3. You plan to subdivide land in area not serviced by town sewer system.
  4. You wish to update an existing septic system (e.g. from septic tank to an aerated wastewater treatment system).
  5. Your local council has ordered that a Wastewater Management Report be undertaken to recommend a new effluent management system.
  1. Completed Council Application Form
  2. On Site Wastewater Management Report (Geotechnical Report)
  3. Product accreditation showing NSW Health approval number and or stamp

This depends on a few factors including:

  • Your Council DA conditions
  • Your current septic system size/capability
  • How many bedrooms you already have
  • How many bedrooms you are adding. A granny flat is usually considered as 1–2 bedrooms.

For example, if your existing system was designed for 4–5 bedrooms, a granny flat may add a further 1–2 bedrooms, which could mean you need a second system or a larger system.

Your local Council may also request an updated Geotechnical Report from you.

Yes, but again it is subject to Council DA approval. The garage/shed would then potentially be seen as another bedroom. It is best to contact your local Council as a first step.  

Yes, but it is subject to Council DA approval. You may need an Onsite Wastewater Management Report. This report would then need to be submitted along with your application to upgrade or change your septic system.

Yes, having additional occupants in your home will have an impact on your system, although most aerated wastewater treatment systems are designed for usage by up to 8–10 people.

One of the things that you can do when there are more people in the house is to spread out your water usage over a longer period of time during the day / evening. For example, do washing over several days rather than multiple large loads on one day, or have showers at different times through the day / evening rather than everyone having a shower first thing in the morning.

To ensure that the system is not damaged, and for your own safety, BluenGrey asks that AWTS owners do not remove the lid or manhole.

Your AWTS is designed to remain powered on at all times. NSW Health accreditation for AWTSs require the system to remain on to avoid environmental problems whereas untreated wastewater is released from the AWTS. If you turn the system off this will mean less treatment of the wastewater.

Power usage is largely dependent on the amount of water that flows into your AWTS. Estimated power usage for a four person household with average wastewater flows can range from $180–$230 per year. The power used by an aeration pump is similar to leaving a 60–80 watt light bulb on.

After power blackouts or electrical storms, the power supply to the AWTS may be affected and it may have impacted the pumps and the control unit. If the system is not surge-protected a fusion event or electrical spike may damage the pumps and control unit.

  • First check the meter box to ensure circuit breakers for the AWTS are on.
  • The light on the alarm panel may flash briefly every 3 seconds and the alarm will give a brief beep in sequence with the light. This beep can be muted for 12–24 hours, if the control unit is working.
  • If your control unit has a backup battery, it will keep the alarm panel powered between up to 7 days depending on the state of its charge before power failure. The backup battery on the alarm panel will automatically recharge when the power is restored to the AWTS.
  • If the AWTS goes without power, the water level will rise and if the water level goes high enough it will set off the highwater alarm. It may take some time for it to pump down. When the pump stops pumping the alarm will go off.
  • If the alarm continues to sound, contact BluenGrey Servicing and we can arrange for a technician to come to site to determine the cause of the problem.

You would have to check your home insurance, but some policies allow for replacement of pumps due to a fusion event or power surges/spikes.

We recommend owners of AWTSs’ take out fusion insurance and check their options with the insurance provider.

A poorly maintained AWTS can cause:

  • Environmental impact and damage to water ways and the environment
  • Council to fine you
  • Toilets to block and back up
  • Smells and odours.
  • Raw effluent to overflow from the tank
  • Water pollution
  • Potential health risks
  • Blocked irrigation systems
  • Additional costs to clean, pump out and repair.

The effectiveness of the system will largely depend on how it is used and maintained. Here are some pointers on how to maintain your AWTS:

  • Have your AWTS inspected and serviced every 3 months.
  • Check that your irrigation lines are clear and your sprinklers are working.
  • If you have sub surface irrigation, clean irrigation filters at least monthly.
  • Have your system service include measuring the sludge levels and make recommendations to when a pump out or additional work is required.
  • Have a pump out at least every 3–5 years.
  • Use biodegradable liquid detergents such as concentrates with low sodium and phosphorus levels.
  • Conserve water.

Please see our free, simple and printable Do's & Don'ts guide on what products to use and avoid for the health of your system.

Call or email BluenGrey Servicing.

If the alarm lights are active, there is a bad smell or the tanks are overflowing, please call our Servicing team immediately.

Possible reasons include:

  • Use of antibacterial products and other cleaning products like bleach that kill the bacteria in the system that are needed to treat your wastewater.
  • The aeration pump may not be working. They have wearing parts that typically require replacing every few years. If your pump is over 5 years old (and not working) it will most probably be at the end of its useful life and will need replacing. 
  • Excess water usage. Washing too many loads of laundry or having too many people shower in a short period of time will put pressure on the system. Try to spread water use out across the day / evening / week.  
  • Septic systems perform best when the wastewater has time (around 24 hours) to settle in the primary septic chamber allowing the water and waste to separate.

The system has less time to process and treat the wastewater. Additionally, high water flows can stir up the system where higher than normal nitrogen gases are released.

It is really important to space your loads of laundry through the week so as not to overload your system.  

Your alarm may be going off because:

  • There is something wrong with your aeration pump or
  • The highwater level in the final pump chamber has been reached.

If the highwater level has been reached, this means the pump has stopped working or the water cannot drain through the system because the irrigation pipes and/or system is blocked.

If the highwater alarm is on, it means that the water is not leaving the tank properly and is building up in the tank.

The most common reasons for this are:

  • Blocked irrigation filter or outlets, so the water cannot escape fast enough.
  • Kinks or broken irrigation outlets, especially if you have been mowing or doing yard work that would impact irrigation area.
  • A faulty one way check valve.
  • Broken internal pipe.
  • Irrigation pump is at end of life.

If the air light is on, the aeration pump is not working.

The most common reasons are:

  • Broken air line
  • Diaphragms inside the aeration pump have split and stopped working.
  • Aeration pump has stopped working and is at end of it’s useful life.

Diaphragms are a moving part that oscillates back and forth in the aeration pump. They are a wearing part and when they split, the pump switches off automatically to protect the pump.

Here are some other warning signs that you can keep an eye out for:

  • No water comes out of the sprinklers
  • Unusual sewage smells around the tank
  • Excess noise (or no noise) from the aeration pump in the turret on top of your tank
  • Dirty water coming out of your sprinklers

Please contact BluenGrey Servicing for more information.

Please see our free, simple and printable Do's & Don'ts guide on what products to use and avoid for the health of your system.

Please see our free, simple and printable Do's & Don'ts guide on what products to use and avoid for the health of your system. 

Yoghurt will not harm your septic system, but it will not get rid of the septic smell caused by a lack of good bacteria and it will not break down the solids in your septic system or be enough to replace or grow additional bacteria.

Over-the-counter medication will not harm your septic system. However, antibiotics and certain strong medications can kill or retard the grown of bacteria that is needed to treat the wastewater.

Yes, you can overload your AWTS by doing too much laundry at one time, or multiple showers/baths within a short space of time, for example when additional guests are staying in your home.

Try to space out shower and bath usage through the day / evening, and washing machine usage through the week to avoid overloading the system. 

The warranty on each component of the system is as follows:

  • Aeration pump: two years
  • Irrigation pump: two years
  • Sludge pump: two years

Your warranty may not cover call outs, miscellaneous plumbing parts and labour to remove and install the pump. Warranty is void if pump failed due to electrical fault, blocked irrigation, heavily sludged systems, overdue for a pump out or the tank has been flooded.

Yes, the FujiClean 1200 ACE is compatible with homes using a standalone solar power system.

For the system to operate correctly it requires:

  • A stable and continuous connection to a 10 amp 240V AC +/- 5% maximum and a frequency of 50Hz.
  • A suitable inverter to be used
  • The power supply to have sufficient capacity to run all components without the voltage supply dropping when the load is applied
  • A contingency plan if the house experiences long periods without power. NOTE: like any AWTS, prolonged periods without power will cause the bacteria to die off and result in system failure.

Key Information regarding your system:

A standard 4 person household uses an average of 600-800L per day.

Subsurface irrigation disposal:

  • A high head submersible pump has a max flow rate of 68L/min.
  • An average pump cycle for the FujiClean1200 ACE is 15 minutes.
  • Therefore with average loading, the pump will activate and cycle 2-3 times per day.

Surface irrigation disposal:

  • Submersible pump with 8m head had a flow rate of 20L/min.
  • An average pump cycle for the FujiClean1200 ACE is 15 minutes.
  • Therefore with average loading, the pump will activate and cycle 2-3 times per day.

Air blower runs 24 hours/day and provides 80L of aeration per minute.

Interested in a new AWTS or septic system?

Get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team to organise an on-site inspection today.

BluenGrey AWTS in NSW

Testimonials

  • "I can’t recommend BluenGrey highly enough"

    “BluenGrey are an absolute pleasure to deal with. Their Service Technicians are always professional and reliable, and I like to know that our wastewater system is looked after so we’re always meeting our Council’s regulations. I feel reassured knowing I can call on them should I have any worries about our system, and especially that they can respond to emergencies.”

    – Emma, Shoalhaven

  • "BluenGrey are a great ‘one stop shop’ service at competitive prices"

    “Having made the decision to move to a semi-rural property at Yass we investigated options for our grey and rain water requirements. We approached BluenGrey who provided a range of options for us to select from. Their personal and professional approach, which included on-site meetings, ultimately led us to choose to proceed with BluenGrey who offered a ‘one stop shop’ service at competitive prices. The installation was trouble free and their follow-on service and advice has been excellent. We are completely satisfied with the BluenGrey services and have no hesitation in recommending them to future customers.”

    – Col and Anne Eade

  • "Rod’s expertise is exceptional"

    “We would like to thank Rod for all his guidance and patience while we were investigating water and sewerage systems, and asking a myriad of questions. We had never built before and knew nothing about what we needed for water and sewerage, so Rod was a fountain of knowledge. His expertise has been exceptional. Both the water tank and the sewerage system were installed hassle-free and passed Council inspection without any issues. We look forward to an ongoing relationship with Rod when he visits to do the necessary checks and balances of our sewerage system”

    – Melissa and Scott Jobson, Tapitallee

  • "BluenGrey were very helpful in every respect"

    “From our initial conversations through to final installation BluenGrey were very helpful in every respect, and courteous and obliging with regards to my requirements. Work commenced on time as planned with pictures texted through to us during the installation showing progress. All in all job a well done with zero issues. I would recommend BluenGrey to anyone considering waste disposal units and / or rainwater tanks.”

    – Steven Hawke, Longbeach