Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens if the System Breaks Down?

The alarm will sound. Give us a call and we will arrange for a friendly technician to attend

Do you have an After Hours service?

Yes we do. We have our friendly technicians rostered on over the weekend including public holidays. Simply phone through on 1300 997 082 and we will arrange for a technician to attend. If we are already on the phone your call may go to voicemail or an answering machine. Please make sure you leave your details including a return telephone number and we will return your call.

What does AWTS stand for?

Aerated Wastewater Treatment System

What is an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS)?

Is a purpose built system used for the treatment of sewerage and liquid wastes from a single household or multiple dwellings.

How Does an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS) operate?

Wastewater is treated in stages in several separate chambers. The 1st chamber is similar to a conventional septic tank. The wastewater enters the chamber where the solids settle to the bottom and are retained in the tank forming a sludge layer. Scum collects at the top, and the partially clarified wastewater flows into a 2nd chamber. Here the wastewater is mixed with air to assist bacteria to further treat the wastewater. A 3rd chamber allows additional clarification through the settling of solids, which are returned for further treatment to either the septic chamber or to the aeration chamber. The clarified effluent is disinfected in a further chamber before irrigation can take place. Bacteria in the 1st chamber break down the solid matter in the sludge and scum layers. Material that cannot be fully broken down gradually builds up over time in the chamber and must be pumped out.

Are AWTS’s regulated?

NSW Department of Health determines and approves the design and structural requirements for all AWTS’s. Local councils are responsible for the approval for the installation of domestic AWTS’s. The approval to operate is usually subject to renewed each year. Local councils are also responsible for the ongoing monitoring of the systems by undertaking random on site inspections, reviewing the Service Report which is prepared by the contractor after each service and forwarded to council. It is considered a public health issue to ensure all AWTS are properly designed, installed and serviced.

What happens if an AWTS is not correctly maintained?

Poorly maintained AWTS’s are a serious source of water pollution and may present health risks, cause odours and attract disease carrying vermin and insects. By looking after your treatment system you can do your part in helping to protect the environment and the health of your family.

Who pays for the servicing of my AWTS? Is it included in my council rates?

Local councils approve and monitor the systems but the home owner must arrange and pay for the quarterly maintenance and repair of their AWTS by an approved contractor. All costs are borne by the home owner

How do I know if my AWTS is malfunctioning?

All systems are fitted with an alarm having a light and an audible sound which will indicate mechanical or electrical equipment malfunctions. The sound may be muted by the home owner but the warning light can only be reset by the service contractor.

Are there any other warning signs of possible malfunction?

The smell of sewage, wastewater pooling of the irrigated area, water that drains slowly or backs up in sinks and drains, excessive noise from the blower or pumping equipment, poor vegetation growth in the irrigated area and odour from the vent on the AWTS. Call your service contractor to rectify the system.

What is considered Good practice for AWTS’s?

Use biodegradable detergents with low levels of sodium and phosphorous, use only the recommended amounts of detergent, have your system maintained and serviced by an approved contractor and be conservative with your use of water within the household such as dishwashers/washing machines.

What should be avoided for AWTS’s?

Don’t use large quantities of bleaches, disinfectants, whiteners, nappy soakers and spot removers. Don’t allow any foreign materials such as nappies, sanitary napkins, condoms or other hygiene products to enter the system. Don’t put large quantities of fats and oils in the system; keep food waste out of the system. Don’t switch off power to the AWTS, even if you go away on holidays.

Can the AWTS’s become overloaded?

Overloading is caused by large volumes of water entering the system over a short period of time. A large number of showers and loads of washing clothes/dishes. These usually occur when there are additional members to the household. The best way to prevent the problem is to attempt to spread your water usage throughout the day. E.g. some showers in the morning while others at night with clothes washing in the middle of the day.

How long have you been operating?

We commenced operation in February 1997 and further expanded the business in 2002 with the acquisition of Crystal Clear Wastewater Services.

Do AWTS’s Need to be Pumped Out?

The 1st chamber in the AWTS is similar to a conventional septic tank. The wastewater enters the chamber where the solids settle to the bottom and are retained in the bottom of the tank forming a sludge layer. Bacteria in the chamber breaks down the solid matter in the sludge. Material that cannot be fully broken down gradually builds up over time in the chamber and must be pumped out. The frequency for each system but it is usually every 3 to 5 years.

My contractor has advised me the system needs to be filled up with water after it is pumped out. Won’t it simply refill with wastewater from the household over time?

The AWTS needs to be filled with water after it is pumped out to prevent damage to the system. The system is buried in the ground and when the system is pumped out the weight of the system is considerably reduced, this may cause the tank to float out of the hole (due to water pressure within the surrounding earth). This situation occurs often with swimming pools, and is why a hydrostatic valve is fitted at the bottom of swimming pools. AWTS aren’t able to have these safety valves installed to prevent the problem. In addition, within the AWTS there are a number of chambers which are normally all full of wastewater; hence the wastewater in adjacent chambers supports the barrier between the chambers. When the system is emptied and allowed to refill gradually, the barrier separating the chambers is not supported and the weight of wastewater on one side may cause the barrier to give way or break. The systems are designed for all chambers to be full of wastewater not only some chambers full, while others are empty. We recommend you protect and safeguard your capital investment in your system by following the practice of allowing our technicians to fill your system with water after a pump out is performed.

We are on Tank Water and have a limited water supply, how can we fill up the AWTS after a pump out?

We understand the situation and will co ordinate a water tanker to arrive at the conclusion of the pump out and fill the system to the required level. Also, using domestic size hoses doesn’t allow for the AWTS to be filled quickly enough to prevent potential problems.

What’s Wrong with the Old Septic Tank Systems?

There is nothing wrong with them however over time better levels of wastewater treatment have become available. An old style septic system provides effluent treat to a primary stage i.e. effectively solids are removed, the AWTS offer tertiary treatment of effluent which is more environmentally friendly and significantly reduces the health risks associated with wastewater disposal.

How do I pay for the Service?

You may pay after each service is performed. We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, cheque, money orders and bank transfers. Payments may be made to the friendly service technicians, by phone to the office during business hours, by mail or ONLINE via our website, we can even arrange an authority where we will charge your visa or MasterCard automatically after each service.

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Servicing all brands of systems including

Aqua-Nova, Biocycle, Bioseptic, Biotreat, Clearwater, Earthsafe, Environcycle, Garden Master, Super Treat, Taylex & Ultraclear