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On-Site Sewage Systems

Image for the On-SIte Sewage Treatment page.
This page contains information about on-site sewage treatment systems.
Updated: 24/06/2020 2:10 p.m.

Septic tanks

A septic tank connected to a soakage or drainage field is used in areas where no connection to Council's sewage scheme exists.

Property owners are responsible for organising and paying for maintenance to their system. 

Proprietary systems, such as Biocycle or Natural Flow Systems must have a maintenance contract with the service agent approved by the manufacturer. Regular cleaning and maintenance by a qualified contractor will ensure a septic tank system will last for many years. 


Drainage firms are charged a fee per cubic metre (1,000 litres) of waste for discharge into our Kioreora treatment plant for processing. For more information about our fees and charges, follow the link below.

Pressure Sewer Systems

An alternative on-site system is a small pumping unit installed on each property to pump the household sewage into our sewerage network. Each unit has a 24-hour emergency storage tank (about 1 metre by 2 metres) and is fitted with an alarm contained in a control panel.

The pump unit itself is installed in a location on the property and the system is powered by the household power supply. The public pressure sewer pipework is buried in the road reserve similar to a water main.

Ownership and operation of the system

We are responsible for maintaining the pump units, the pipe work from the pump unit to the property boundary and the control panel.

Property owners are responsible for maintaining the drainage pipe from the house to the pump unit and providing the power to run the pump unit.

The homeowners guide to the system tells you how you can help to keep the system running smoothly. Download it by following the link below.

Pressure Sewer System Homeowner's Guide [187kb]

Some of the key requirements for the system can be viewed by following the link below.

Pressure Sewer System Key Requirements [234kb] 

Agreement for the provision of the Pressure Sewer System can be downloaded by following the link below:

Agreement for Provision of Pressure Sewer Connection [273kb]

Pump faults and alarms

The alarm goes off if the system is damaged or needs repair. If this happens, switch the alarm off by pressing the button underneath the alarm panel.

If the alarm light is still active after 15 minutes, call us for assistance by phoning +64 9 430 4200.

Our service contractor will contact you to make a site visit to resolve the problem. Please do not attempt to repair the system yourself. 

Plugged or blocked pumps

Pressure Sewer Pumps get blocked when things go down the drain that shouldn’t. At recent call outs we have found clothes, baby wipes and toys blocking the pumps.

Remember only water-based or food based by-products or toilet paper should go down drains.  The homeowner manual provides a list of objects that must not be flushed away.

Pumping unit power turned off

Remember to keep the power to the unit turned on. 

If you turn the power off, and you have any leaking taps or appliances within your household, the pumping unit can fill up and overflow.  If the unit is turned off, the alarm to warn you or your neighbours won’t work.

If you have had to turn the power off for a while, the alarm may sound for a while after power is restored until the wastewater level in the storage tank falls below the alarm level.

In this situation wait for an hour before contacting us because the alarm should stop once the wastewater drops below the alarm level.

Alarm going on and then off on a regular basis

If your alarm often comes on and then stops:

  • check whether one of your appliances is emptying a large amount of water quickly into the pressure sewerage system
  • check whether it is or has just been raining? If it is, stormwater could be getting into your drainage system.

Both of these situations can cause problems, so please report them to us to investigate. In the meantime continue to use your pressure sewerage system as normal.

Special summer issues

  • your unit may have to pump more often if you have a lot more people than usual staying in your home. It is meant to do this.
  • if you go away and leave your property for long periods it is wise to flush clean water through the pump system. The simplest way to do this is to part fill the bathtub and then let the water drain away through the system or run your washing machine through a cycle. This will activate the pump in the tank and flush clean water through the system
  • tell your neighbours you are going away and what to do if the alarm goes off (they can contact us)
  • leave the power to the pumping unit going. If the unit is turned off at the power board, the alarm will not sound to warn neighbours if a problem does occur.    

Changing from an on-site system

To know what you need to do to connect to Council's sewer network, follow the link below.


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