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Handy Hints and FAQ’s

What is Effluent?

Effluent is the liquid waste water that passes through your septic system and requires a distribution system to ensure sustainable assimilation in the soil. Although it is called "waste water" think of it as a valuable resource you can re use.

ems Effluent Managment Systems LTD, Hastings, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand - What is effluent?

Managing your Effluent Disposal System

As your Effluent Management System (EMS) is installed in shallow trenches care must be taken to prevent damage to pipe work below the ground. This means the area must be designated a no stock site, e.g. pigs, cattle, horses. To keep grass down sheep or goats can be grazed on site periodically for short periods of time. Mowers and weedeaters can be used but no heavy vehicles can be driven across the disposal field. Planting of disposal field with ground cover or small shrubs is an advantage (although trees must not be planted on or too close to pipe work below the ground).

When electrical connection is carried out as part of Effluent Management Systems Ltd installation contract, a high level alarm is fitted to the effluent pump. This alarm will alert you to any pump problems. Contact service person if alarm persists.

Caring for your Effluent Tank


  • Use water conservatively (recommend water saver devices to be fitted on all showers).
  • Use biodegradable household cleaners and synthetic laundry powders or liquids (i.e. petroleum based).
  • Recommend you use body washes, shower gels etc, as these products are synthetic based, instead of soap.
  • Ensure you use water saver, sudsaver cycles on your dishwasher and washing machine if fitted.
  • Be aware of your effluent tank and disposal field locations.
  • Be aware of high-level alarm light on effluent tank pump. if red light is on this is a warning that something may be wrong with the pump. please call 06 879 8022 if this happens.
  • For trouble free operation, regular servicing is required.

Do not’s

  • Avoid using soap based washing powders.
  • Do not install a wastemaster disposal unit.
  • Do not dispose of nappies, sanitary napkins/panty shields or condoms into drains.
  • When cleaning plumbing fixtures do not use strong bleaches, chlorine compounds, antiseptics or disinfectants.
  • Do not allow fat to be poured down the sink.
  • Do not put petrol, oil, flammable/explosive substances or chemicals from garage, e.g. pesticide, paint cleaners, photographic chemicals or trade waste down drains.
  • Do not empty a spa or swimming pool into system.
  • Do not direct roof or surface water to foul water drains or effluent tank.
  • Do not drive heavy vehicles over effluent tank or disposal field.
  • Do not build over effluent tank.

Helpful hints
To help reduce sludge building up in the effluent tank:

  1. Scrape all dishes to remove food material etc before washing.
  2. Keep all possible solids out of the system.

To help reduce the volume of effluent liquid required to soak in the field effluent:

  1. Install water saving devices.
  2. Take showers (moderate length of time) instead of baths.
  3. Only wash cloths when there is a full load / use dishwasher when there is a full load.
  4. Try and avoid using the washing machine and dishwasher at the same time.
  5. Endeavour to space out water use as evenly as possible, so that the system is not overloaded with a large volume of water at one time.

NB: Large volume discharges, e.g. spa baths, several loads of washing in a row, several showers one after the other, may cause alarm light to come on until the pump out cycle catches up. If alarm persists contact 06 879 8022 immediately.

Clean effluent tank at about the 3-5 year period. This, however, is dependant on the number of people your system caters for and the build up of sludge and crust layers.

Tanks need to be pumped out when the scum layer (layer of crust on top) comes down to within 100 mm of the bottom of the tee junction or filter at outlet, or when the sludge (build up of material on bottom of tank) and scum have accumulated to the extent that the scum and sludge has taken up 2/3rd of the volume of the tanks first chamber.

Maintenance Service Contract
Effluent tanks need to be serviced regularly by a service technician who will complete checks as per system requirement. This service ensures the effluent treatment and disposal system is maintained and operates efficiently and effectively.

     Effluent Management Systems Ltd
     6 Hazelwood St, Hastings, New Zealand
06 879 8022
06 879 8026


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