Wastewater management


Wastewater is contaminated water produced in homes, businesses, commercial and public facilities.

We produce wastewater when we use:

  • toilets
  • showers
  • baths
  • sinks
  • washing machines.

What's in wastewater

Wastewater is made up of things that end up being flushed down the toilet or put down the drain such as:

  • human waste
  • solids like toilet paper
  • food scraps
  • fats and oils
  • soaps
  • chemicals.

Types of wastewater

There are two types of wastewater that we produce:

  • greywater – from showers, baths, sinks and laundries
  • blackwater – from toilets.

What happens to wastewater

All wastewater has to be removed in some way.

Wastewater from most households ends up in sewerage.

The sewer transports the wastewater to a sewerage treatment facility where it is treated and managed.

Some properties aren’t connected to sewerage and rely on other ways to remove wastewater.

If you are not connected to sewerage

If your property isn’t connected to sewerage, you will need to install a wastewater management system (WMS).

These systems store, treat and dispose of domestic wastewater on the premises.

Types of wastewater management systems

Wastewater management systems include:

  • septic tank systems
  • secondary treatment systems
  • recirculating evapotranspiration systems
  • holding tank with pump out
  • wet composting toilets
  • greywater treatment systems
  • waterless composting systems.

How to install a system

If you want to install a WMS in the Northern Territory (NT), you must engage a licensed plumber and drainer.

A WMS must meet certain standards to minimise public health and environmental risks.

Before you begin, you should speak to a licensed plumber and drainer to decide which WMS is best for you.

The installation process may involve different government agencies and hydraulic consultants depending on:

Rules and guidance for industry

If you are designing, installing or maintaining a WMS in the NT, you must meet certain codes and guidelines.

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Last updated: 18 August 2015

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