We’ve had a flood (‘scuse the pun!) of questions since we shared the news that the Auckland Council requires property owners to provide their inspection and maintenance records. You can read more about that announcement HERE
We asked a representative from the Auckland Council to answer some of the more common questions we were being asked — find them below…
Q. When do the rules about having to keep records of our wastewater services come into effect?
A. The Auckland Unitary Plan sets rules for maintenance of onsite wastewater systems. This came into effect in November 2016. These rules require property owners to make records available to council on request. The new compliance monitoring programme, where council is requesting records, began in 2018 in areas with known water-quality problems: Piha, Waiheke, Huia, Te Henga, Point Wells. From 2020, council will start requesting records from other parts of Auckland. In the meantime, several companies are proactively providing all Auckland inspection records.
Q. Is this just a council revenue-gathering scheme? What is the need for this?
A. There are beaches and streams that are being contaminated with human waste. This is a health risk for people and harms the environment. When onsite wastewater systems are properly cared for, there is less contamination in the waterways. Auckland Council doesn’t get any revenue from company inspections, and only issues fines when property owners refuse to comply.
Q. Do I need to keep the service records or will the wastewater service provider?
A. Like any other part of your house, your onsite wastewater system is your responsibility so you need to keep a copy of your records. There are several companies proactively providing all inspection records to Auckland Council as well. You can request copies of your service records from your service company at any time.
Q. How often do I need to service my wastewater system and tanks to pass inspection?
A. All inspections must include a check of all parts of your system, including the disposal field.
- If you have a primary system (traditional septic tank) you need to have your system inspected every 3 years.
- If you have a secondary or tertiary system (additional treatment with textile filters, sand filters, aeration, or UV and will usually have a pump, air blower or aeration pump) you need to have your system inspected every 6 months.
- The technician who inspects your tank will tell you if it needs to be pumped out, but it must be emptied when the solids fill 50% of the tank volume. If required, a recommendation to have the system emptied will be advised at your time of service.
- Even if you get the council pump-out service which covered by a special targeted rate, you still need to arrange an independent inspection to check the individual components and disposal field condition.
Q. When and how will the council check my service records?
A. Your service technician either fills in an online form that is automatically sent to the council on the day of your inspection, or sends a copy of a paper form. Auckland Council staff will review records as they come in and follow up any compliance problems, like failing disposal fields or illegal effluent discharge. Auckland Council may also request a copy of your latest inspection record.
Q. What parts of NZ does this apply to?
A. These rules and online inspection checklists apply to all of Auckland, but other councils have similar rules and some have standard inspection checklists.