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#958783 - 09/02/2011 17:00 Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes)
Moonstruck Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/12/2010
Posts: 755
Hi All - I'm looking for opinions, pro's and con's of the various waste water systems on the market. We are building out of town with no services. Had purchased a Biolytix System but before I took delivery the company went into receivership and I now find myself very much out of pocket and back to square one. Hoping that all those knowledgable folk here on the forum with their own systems would share some of their experiences and expertise regarding the different systems out there. Thanks kindly your input is appreciated. smile
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#958850 - 09/02/2011 19:37 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
Arnoldnut Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 18/10/2006
Posts: 1559
Loc: Arnold, NthWest Vic
I can tell you what we have ...and what we've tried.I'll get some of the names wrong but just forgive me.
First waste tank is an ordinary old septic with anerobic bacteria running things and the outlet spills into an aerobic bacteria chamber/3000lt tank which is full of leggo ( generic name for anything that has lots of little cavities to capture air bubbles and grow bacteria.)
I used a submerged pump with an air sniffer on it to aerate this second tank ....better than a compressor I found and circulates the water a little ....spilled that out into an open tank (9ft diameter cattle trough) and let the water pass through barley bales before going on the garden ....I put the barley tank on after we installed a spa.
Keep in mind we had a long drought and I got desperate for good clean garden water. ....water quality picked up after going through the barley I found.
Keep in mind there is no dunnys on these lines as they have their own septic system and realm/aspiration drain system seperate.

it can get silly ...I have the space so was able to try a few things. best way I've found is keep your water seperate and as clean as you can as it's hard to reverse the process.

I also decant all my rain water ....meaning the tank that feeds the house isn't the tank that catches it ....I decant it across tank to tank ...which removes 90% and keeps it cool below ground which helps when storing it for years.
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#958941 - 09/02/2011 23:17 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Arnoldnut]
Moonstruck Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/12/2010
Posts: 755
I like the idea of decanting your rainwater to underground. How many pumps do you use, or is it gravity fed. I had planned to use sub irrigation of our waste water to keep gardens looking smicko all year round.. Keen to get one to secondary standard, but not sure which is best way to go now. Really loved the earthworm principle. Prbably wouldn't get approval for your system where we are but I like the idea of it. How often do you replace the barley bales - can they be used as mulch? smile


Edited by Wet-Ish (09/02/2011 23:17)
Edit Reason: can't spell
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#958955 - 09/02/2011 23:42 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
SBT Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 07/02/2007
Posts: 14286
Loc: Townsville Dry Tropics
Get a hold of a couple of Permacultre (Permaculture and Introduction to Permaculture) books from your local library and then buy Grassroots magazine from newsagents every where. Plenty of excellent information about doing what Arnoldnut is talking about and some pretty amazing systems being built by ordinary people all over Australia. I have the opposite problem - too much bloody water and a cyclone to boot.
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#958959 - 10/02/2011 00:31 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: SBT]
Arnoldnut Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 18/10/2006
Posts: 1559
Loc: Arnold, NthWest Vic
Not as smooth as it sound with the decanting of rain water.
Old house and sheds with many roofs. So I put two 45000lts down the hill below everything and use smaller 10,000lt surge tanks under the gutters off the house. Shed has another 55,000 concrete tank ...the tanks down the hill are only a metre below the others so they always remain full but feed the pumps for the house (is the only pumping). And we have the original well (milkbottle shape) that holds another 60,000 odd ...all full heheheheeee ..been a bit wet here too.
Biggest clue on water wet-ish is to keep it clean in the first place ...I'm a nut case on keeping screens clean and sweeping the roof etc and even washoing it down to waste when we have enough water ....all helps to keep it clean ..filtering is not as easy as some think ....chems etc which I avoid.
Just keep it clean in the first place.

The barley bales are just in a plastic cattle trough 9ft dia x 3ft deep and buried to ground level (you can walk across it and it's not a pond style one ..I have two grandkids under 5) ....two bales deep and fill it but for the opposite side to the inlet has about ten milkcrates where the pump is. Not going at the moment and have it out of the ground ...I'll take a pic and send it to you ....simple spillway for over flows etc ...amazing what you can do with a heat gun and placcie welding and little idea.

Are they still printing Grassroots Wobbley? ......was like newsprint when I used to buy it in the 70s ....still have a couple of old copies somewhere. Doubt if raising worms has changed much.



Edited by Arnoldnut (10/02/2011 00:38)
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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.”

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#958990 - 10/02/2011 09:46 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Arnoldnut]
SBT Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 07/02/2007
Posts: 14286
Loc: Townsville Dry Tropics
Yep and still being printed on newpaper. I pick up the odd copy evey now and then just out of interest and if you wade through the ads there are some gems buried in there.

Mrs Next Door bought a Permie's house and has ripped out most of what they planted but some of the older stuff is too big for her to handle so it has stayed. Mulberry trees white and red, macadamia nut, advocardo, gingers up the fence lin e, tumeric, sweet potato etc. Half of teh stuff in her yard she wouldn't have a clue about so I just nick over the fence and harvest the Brasilian cherry when she isn't looking. The mini swales (less than 30cm high) have basically survived and still managed to water 3/4 of her yard without her even knowing what all the lumps do.
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785mm Jan
799mm Feb
130 March
2019 Total 1714mm
2018 Total 822mm






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#959039 - 10/02/2011 13:20 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: SBT]
Arnoldnut Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 18/10/2006
Posts: 1559
Loc: Arnold, NthWest Vic
Speaking of waste treatment systems
Gus a local farmer just came to get me to help him pull a dead steer out of a septic tank.

....I told him where the backhoe was and asked him to leave it at Wrightys steam cleaner and I'll pick it up from there.

I wished him well. wink

(no we won't have photos of this one)


Edited by Arnoldnut (10/02/2011 13:21)
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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.”

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#960014 - 12/02/2011 21:04 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: SBT]
Moonstruck Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/12/2010
Posts: 755
yeah SBT I quite often borrow them from Library trouble is they are so popular that its hard to get the latest editions. I would recommend them to everybody as a good read. We all seem to be a little more consciuous of the environment these days - good info on chooks, interesting recipes.

I am now investingating the likes of OZZI CLEAN, BIO CYCLE, TAYLEX AND ENVIRO CYCLE systems. looking for peoples experiencces with these and sub irrigation problems etc. Would like to hear from anyone with these systems. poke


Edited by Wet-Ish (12/02/2011 21:07)
Edit Reason: still carnt spel
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#960352 - 13/02/2011 20:44 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
Stormy1 Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 13/10/2005
Posts: 1872
Originally Posted By: Wet-Ish
yeah SBT I quite often borrow them from Library trouble is they are so popular that its hard to get the latest editions. I would recommend them to everybody as a good read. We all seem to be a little more consciuous of the environment these days - good info on chooks, interesting recipes.

I am now investingating the likes of OZZI CLEAN, BIO CYCLE, TAYLEX AND ENVIRO CYCLE systems. looking for peoples experiencces with these and sub irrigation problems etc. Would like to hear from anyone with these systems. poke


Mate I would go with Taylex-brillant system and the after sales service is great. PM me if you want further info. I do lots of septic designs etc.... and I know this system is one of the best you'll will get and at a reasonable price. You have mentioned the sub-surface irrigation system can have problems and thats is correct due to:

1. Inadequate pump size
2. Sub-standard installation
3. Poor soils with low permability

If you can go for surface irrigation if your local government allows this.


Edited by Stormy1 (13/02/2011 20:50)

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#961145 - 15/02/2011 17:30 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Stormy1]
Moonstruck Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 30/12/2010
Posts: 755
Thanks stormy will do. have heard now that Envirocycle have also gone into liquidation!
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#961167 - 15/02/2011 17:51 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
bundybear Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 28/12/2010
Posts: 2366
Loc: Between Bundy and Gladstone
I have lots of the old grass roots and earth garden magazines. I am an old hippy. smile

For those who are into doing things alternatively you will find that a lot of it is just old ways really.

Years ago the lands dept had a library in Brisbane. They had some old books there from the 1800's that were farm journals. They were put out every 2 months I think. Full of great information on how to survive without the modern world as the modern world didn't exist then. Had designs for self opening gates, how to build a smoker for your bacon, how to build a wattle and daub house. Everything you could need to know. They did have a ladies section that gave me a good giggle.

Those books would still exist but I do not know who would hold them now. At that time I was able to borrow them through an inter library loan as I was a govt worker.

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#1341623 - 21/09/2015 17:50 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
ElleWilliams Offline
Cloud Gazer

Registered: 17/09/2015
Posts: 1
You should look into constructed wetlands? These are clever landscape designs where natural wetlands is imitated to the purpose of wastewater management wastewater management. From what I’ve read so far, studies show that they are effective in cleaning wastewater from residential communities plus they also provide a nice green landscape to view.

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#1341786 - 24/09/2015 08:31 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
ozone doug Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 06/11/2006
Posts: 1928
Loc: Roma SW QLD Eye to the West...
Yes Grass Roots is still a good read after all these years ,I usally flick through and buy if something catches my eye lol.
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BOM Stormspotter G0388 Roma S W Queensland Formerly Redcliffe.

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#1354475 - 23/12/2015 11:29 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
J Pabo Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 12/10/2012
Posts: 431
Loc: Clydesdale NSW
Hi Moonstruck,

We have a BioCycle system at our home, but it is one of the first models that was built before BioCycle went bust the first time (Jowa Group is now the current holder of the Biocycle trademark).

While Biocycle went bust, there were no operators for the servicing of their tanks (generally every three months), so we had to learn ourselves on how the system worked. Our system is just the one tank concrete with various chambers (6) inside it.

Basically our system works as follows:

First Chamber - Where the sewage enters and the solids are held and any excess water and particles then flows to the second chamber. It basically hold the main solids.

Second Chamber - Similar to the first chamber but the solids when they are being broken down generally float to the top and held there until the decompose further into basically very small pieces.

Third/Fourth Chamber - These chambers are only divided at the top by a divider which hold back any possible "floaties" flowing from the second chamber. The divider is basically a support that holds the inner tank in the middle. Here, these chambers are aerated, which the outlet is very close to the floor of the chamber to stir up any possible sendiment at the bottom of the tank. The water then passes through here into the next chamber. Note - solids at times will slowly build up between all chambers (other then the last hopefully) , and when bacteria feeds on the the solids will turn into "floaties". At times these floats need to be redirected back the first chamber to them to decompose further again.

Fifth Chamber - This chamber is abit hard to describe due the complexity of how the pumped air works (as there are ballcock valves which regulated the air being pumped to the aerated chambers, at the same time causing a vacuum system of sucking up (or down) floaties that develop into this tank. Any floaties that are caught in this tank are then directed back to first chamber (usually next to the inlet of where the sewage first enters. Here the water is pooled and then has a flow pipe where there are tablets (basically pool chlorine tablets) to disinfect any possible nasties below entering the last chamber for pump out.

Sixth chamber - Here, there is a submersible pump which a float switch which only turns the pump on when the water level is high enough for the floating switch mechanism turns itslef on when the level is right. this then in turn gets pumped out to wherever you require that water to be pumped to. These days, there seems to be all installed underground out of harms way, whereas ours is just on a hose (which is purple) and we direct the outlet onto any tree (2) that we think needs a drink.

The reason for the servicing every three months is to make sure the disinfectant tablets are in sufficient supply, that there are no floaties being passed into the final chambers, also clearing out any silt that may happen to be on the final chamber (but we also do the fifth chamber at times especially if the water is very murky).

When our council did an audit of the area for waste management systems of all landholders, the question they asked was for what type of system we use, and if applicable (especially for recycling systems) who is the contractor who services the system. As we had been servicing the system ourselves for over 10yrs, we just put down that as no-one never came to service the system since the closure of the Biocycle, we noted down that we have learned and managed it ourselves for this period. Interesting, several months later we had found an invoice from Jowa Group saying that they serviced our system. They charged us $88 for their time when they had to do nothing as we serviced it about a month earlier. Then about two days later, the sub-pump failed. While we were attending to it, when we were cleaning out the mess (believe me, when the pump fails, the crap would hit the fan if it had one) we had found about a good 20kg bag worth of fine gravel type sand in the bottom between the final two chambers (majority of it was in the fifth chamber) that wasn't there a month ago when we serviced it. We rang the serviceman and complained about this, (we hadn't paid the invoice as yet) and asked him to explained what has happened, as it would be impossible for that to happen in all our experience. He just said that it was because the pump failed and that was the result of the sediment being swamped into the other chambers. We told him that that was a load of crap as the sediment was too heavy for it to float, that the pump's vanes had score marks from the crap it tried top pump out, when the pump was only about one and a half years old. Even the pump we replaced had no such score marks on it and it was over 7 years old. He just basically said that he alone is only licenced to service it and that we are not allowed to touch it by law. So we countered saying that since no-one was around to servce for past tens years, where on earth was he??? We told him that he is not to enter our property at any time and that we will not be paying the invoice. We also wrote a letter to both to the company and our council stipulating that no representative of that company is to service it. The company was very apologetic and wanted to correct the situation, also informed us that he was only a contractor and they wanted to remediate the issue (basically to service the system). We informed them that as we had serviced for the past ten years (as we have the already had the needed equipment to service it) and we will continue to do so ourselves. We had asked how did they know we had a Biocycle system at our place, which they had an old listing of systems from a previous servicer from the liquidated company. We had thought that our council informed them but that wasn't the case. When the council had no objection of us servicing our system, since the amount of time we had done it ourselves and had no issues, so we told the company that the council allowed us to do our own system.

We have no issues with the company, and the only time we would ever use them again is basically if we ever moved from here, and we will pass on their details to the new owners (which by the way, will most probably never happen as we will never move).

Their products are very good and still recommend them to anyone who needs a sewage management system. A mate who lives in Queensland, wanted to install a Biocycle at his place, but at the time they were not close enough to where he lived, also his council wanted a partical type of system at his place. But he has a slightly different system where it has two separate smaller tanks which has slightly the same principles, but his doesn't require an airpump (which are very expensive to replace). But like any system, they need to be kept on eye on, even though someone is servicing it, as the alarms systems are not perfect either.


Edited by J Pabo (23/12/2015 11:33)

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#1355048 - 26/12/2015 00:28 Re: Waste Water Treatment Systems - (sewerage systems for country homes) [Re: Moonstruck]
Fine Elsewhere Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 02/09/2002
Posts: 1877
Loc: Albany.W.A.
What an interesting subject this was, but if anyone else is ever in this situation, I wonder how many local councils or whatever heath authorities there are around, would still know about a very old, yet strangely most effective water saving septic system called a FRENCH DRAIN. Its been around for about 300 years and if properly installed will last everyone lifetime if in the right soil types.
I built a new house in 2006, in rural Western Austral and made application thinking I would have no chance of approval,with all these other hi tech high cost things being promoted which in my opinion represent commercialism robbery, constant electricity, consistent maintenance and ongoing costs! I was wrong, it was accepted!

The French drain system is simply 2 cement tanks as per any old septic system ir water first into large tank, overflows into smaller tank then runs to water treatment area, which is slotted 90mm pvc pipe, wrapped in geomesh, sitting in either blue metal or gravel dispersal bed, another layer of geomesh then all of this sits in a various sized rock filled trench.

For our site, we ran this trench across the hill contour so the waste water flows evenly out on the down hill side and deep ripped herring pattern trenches through our orchard area.

Lovely clean water for fruit trees and vegie garden, easy to build, no cost to run, very practical exercise, possibly to practical for todays modern thinking?

If your building a new house in a rural area try running this passed your local Inspectors, if it worked for sooooo long I can't see why it isn't still usable in the right conditions.

I wonder what Moonstruck ended up with? Nothing like me taking 5 years to read a thread, but at my age time doesn't mean too much...

Cheers FE


Edited by Fine Elsewhere (26/12/2015 00:31)

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