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Reflections Blog

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11:07 a.m. Monday, 5 November 2012


Powdered laundry detergents foul the environment and harm wastewater systems. Most powdered laundry detergents typically contain a minority of active ingredients with most of the contents just “fillers” which don’t have any cleaning benefit.

The usual filler is sodium sulphate, otherwise known as Borax and this has serious impacts on on-site wastewater systems.

 1.          The sodium swells clay particles and reduces the soakage of soils in the disposal area.  (The extreme version of this can be seen in the wet, rank pasture in low lying areas near the sea caused by sodium in sea water.)

 2.          The sulphate is converted to Hydrogen Sulphide (rotten egg smell) by bacteria, and this gas is further converted to sulphuric acid which corrodes septic system components.

For detailed Australian studies, refer to work done by Robert Patterson

Even products claiming to be “eco” or “green” can be guilty.

Want rotten egg smells, corrosion of your plant, worsening soil soakage??  Go right ahead and use powdered laundry detergents.

 If you want to solve this problem, liquid detergents in small doses are the solution.

11:05 a.m. Monday, 5 November 2012

Always nice to get a survey returned and we find another happy client 


Kristi Whitworth-Chalk

8:41 a.m. Thursday, 15 March 2012

asy Maintenance of your Septic Tank Outlet Filter
The outlet filter is located on the outlet of the septic tank and is there to prevent the transfer of solid material into the secondary treatment system or irrigation system if you have a primary treatment system. This would create significant problems with not only the pumps, but also clogging the secondary treatment or irrigation lines.

Depending on your habits, use of the system and if you have an infestation of "septic tank" moths the outlet filter might need to be cleaned out as often as once a month to maintain a free flow through the septic tank.

Here are a few steps to enable you to clean the filter yourself between routine scheduled maintenance by our maintenance team.

  • Step One: Remove the 150mm cap on the outlet side of your septic tank.

  • Step Two: Either wear disposal gloves or ensure that you maintain good hygiene (thoroughly clean your hands after), turn the filter anti clockwise and pull the filter up by the handle out of the casing.

  • Step Three: Hold the filter away from you and anyone else and use a hose to spray it down. It would be good if you can do this in a location that is not walked or played on by you, your family or pets (ie. back of the house, in the garden, digging a hole in the lawn etc.). Wash the filter until you see no more waste on it. Try not to spray near or towards people to prevent waste from landing on them.

  • Step Four: Once the filter is clean, insert it back into the casing, turn clockwise to lock in place, and replace the lid. Ensure that the white section of the filter is facing the outlet otherwise no water will exit the septic tank and cause a backlog.

If you have any questions regarding this, then don't hesitate to ask us or next time we complete your scheduled service we can show you how to do it. You will need to make an appointment so that we can arrange a suitable time to see you.

Zoeller Domestic Filter.jpg

Kristi Whitworth-Chalk

1:13 p.m. Friday, 14 October 2011

On Site Wastewater Treatment prior to House Construction

As the cost of living keeps rising, people are looking at ways to save money whilst constructing their new home. A way to do this is to live on site in a portable unit, caravan etc. If you don’t have reticulated wastewater then you will need to allow for some form of treatment to the wastewater before it is disposed of onto the land.

The question we have been asked increasingly is – Can the wastewater system be installed and used before the house is constructed? In short yes, but it will still need a building consent to be constructed. There are a few options here:

  • Get the consent for your new house sorted, install the wastewater component first, and then continue your house construction at your own pace.

  • Obtain minor drainage consent for the wastewater treatment plant, and then get on with the planning and consents for your new house.

  • Not have treatment, and risk issues with the council, Public Health officers, your health and your neighbours health and good relations too.

What you will need to be careful of is that the system is designed to be able to take the wastewater flows from the new house you will be constructing. If you want more information on system sizing refer to the blog entitled “On Site Wastewater System Sizing”.

Kristi Whitworth-Chalk

1:12 p.m. Friday, 14 October 2011

On Site Wastewater System Sizing

A common misconception is that the size of a house or number of bathrooms is what dictates the size of an on site wastewater system. The other one is that, “It will only be the two of us living here, so why does the system have to be so big?”

Septic systems have to be able to handle the likely occupancy at any time in its life. For example if you sell the house to some who occupies every room possible.

Therefore the size of wastewater system for residential homes is based solely on the number of bedrooms or rooms that could be used as bedrooms (such as a study, media or rumpus rooms) there is in a house. The guidelines that council requires we use stipulates the possible occupancy based on bedroom numbers:

Number of Bedrooms

Occupancy for Design Purposes













The reason that council is strict with this rule is that it needs to be sure that the possible wastewater flows from a dwelling will be able to be treated, thus avoiding any public health or environmental risks of an overloaded wastewater system.

John Gausden

1:12 p.m. Tuesday, 11 October 2011


One of the most common things we get asked is about maintenance and does it have to be done.  The answer to that question is in multiple parts covering individual system’s specs and the legal requirement by local councils and warranty issues.

To start, let’s look at the legal aspect.  In the Greater Auckland area under the current TP58 v3 and Air Land and Water Plan of October 2010, any system installed since October 2004 must have twice yearly maintenance – full stop!  Now, there may be suppliers who advise otherwise but rules are rules, and to get Code of Compliance you must agree to this requirement. 

If you are outside of the Auckland area, then whatever the local council requires is what you should follow.

The flip side is – does a system require twice yearly maintenance?  Well that’s up to the manufacturer and end user.  Are you a “flush the toilet and I don’t want to know person”, or an “I’m a hands on person”?  Reflection systems don’t need to have twice yearly maintenance for people who are hands on, careful users.  Most people don’t want to know, so we stick with the rules and as such Councils know we always do the right thing. 

Bottom line – if suppliers are promoting once yearly maintenance for the Greater Auckland area, they are breaking the rules.

John Gausden

9:21 a.m. Monday, 26 September 2011

The new Dilworth "Middle" School at the old Hotel Du Vin.

Reflection Treatment Systems have taken over the existing wastewater plant and are currently revamping it at the New Dilworth School base in Mangatawhiri, just south of the Bombays.

The existing system is an old Jet aeration plant that consists of a gravity sewer to grinder pumps, aeration tanks, upflow filter and on to the irrigation field; as well as settling tanks for the winery. The old system is very nosey and operates continuously.

Reflection Treatment Systems gave advice during the planning/report stages and provided the winning tender at the point of construction.

The new system being installed utilises the existing aeration and winery waste tanks, pump wells, and chambers whilst also adding a new 55m³ primary septic tank, 300m² recirculating sand filter, UV treatment and 5km of irrigation lines.

Construction on the 300m² recirculating sand filter has just been completed with the 55m³ septic tank being constructed insitu now. The entire project is set for completion before Christmas 2011, so there is 5km of irrigation lines to be mole ploughed before then. A purpose built tractor will be used to install the irrigation lines closer to Christmas.

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