Tips & Advice

Septic System Do’s & Don’ts

Garden Master septic systems are fully automatic and there is no need for much owner intervention, however there are some simple precautions you should observe for optimal performance.


Follow these tips to maintain your septic tank system and keep it working properly:


  • Avoid using strong acids, alkalis, oils and chemicals in your toilet, bathroom, laundry and kitchen (too much can kill off the working “bugs”).
  • Conserve water to limit the amount that goes into the tank.
  • Use only bio-degradable detergents in the laundry and kitchen.
  • Try to spread wash loads over different days.
  • Try to avoid using the washing machine and shower at the same time. 
  • Front loader washing machines reduce water usage. 
  • Plant trees the appropriate distance from your drainfield to keep roots from growing into your septic system.
  • Have your system serviced every 3 months.
  • Pump out your septic tank every three to five years.


  • Do not use harsh cleaners such as bleaches and anti-bacterial products. Do not pour leftover solutions, acrylic paints etc directly down the drain. 
  • Do not dispose of condoms, sanitary products, dental floss, disposable diapers, kitty litter, facial tissue, paper towel, baby wipes or cigarettes down the toilet or house drains
  • Do not put products such as hairdye, Napisan, Domestos, metho, turps or excess fats into the system.
  • Never  put cooking oils or grease down the kitchen sink and avoid excess solids like food scraps and coffee grounds going down.
  • Avoid planting trees or shrubs on or near a septic tank or field lines.
  • Do not build or pave on or near a septic tank or field lines.
  • Never park or drive on your drainfield.
  • Never turn the system off, even when away on holidays.
Bleaches and antibacterial products are a NO NO! Avoid all products with bleach or ammonia!

safe products to use with a septic tank

Your septic tank is a living ecosystem where bacteria digest waste. Like any living system, it can become sick if it is flooded, poisoned with chemicals, or not looked after. 



Your septic may need attention if any of these conditions occur – 


  • The air around it smells – usually like rotten egg gas. 
  • The ground is damp or soggy, or pools form downhill. 
  • There’s lots of dark green grass growing on or around the absorption area. 
  • The toilet or drains are slow to clear, or keep backing up.
  • There are lots of weeds growing downhill from the absorption area, in nearby drainage channels or on the banks of a nearby waterway.
  • The septic tank has not been checked for over 12 months.
  • The septic tank has not been pumped out (de-sludged) in the past 3-5 years (this is the most common cause of problems – get it pumped!). 


If any of these factors apply, you should act quickly so that the damage, and the cost of repair, does not get any worse. 


Garden Master offers a septic system maintenance and repair service across the Hunter Valley, Mid North Coast, Central Coast and Newcastle regions.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help with your wastewater system! 



NSW Department of Local Government. 2000. The Easy Septic Guide. Developed by Social Change Media for the New South Wales Department of Local Government.


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