Septic systems

The following lines are verbatum quotes from Government or scientific web articles. Click on each line to see the original article.
Proposed sewage effluent dispersal site is flood prone. Local eyewitness Gary Poole states:
"We moved in February 1st this year. (2008) There was massive flooding around that time. Alpine Terrace was completely cut off. Even the large storm drains that had previously been installed under Alpine Terrace were no match for nature. Our property was cut in two as water swept thru our property. Re: Guanaba Creek. The safety fence going over the small waterfall at the end of the St B's pool was swept away.  Flood waters also swept away St B's irrigation pump and another large rail that crosses the stream b4 the escarpment to protect any one getting swept over the cliff. It has never been replaced. Here's a pic of the safety fence b4 it was swept away....its lying in a mangled state further down the bank if anyone wants to have a look at it"  

The public safety rail torn from its concrete anchors by floodwaters in Feb 2008       The irrigation pump now at bottom of falls 
and now at the bottom of the falls
Grassed area in above pictures is where effluent will be sprayed.          Obviously low lying
The cliffs at St Bernards are classified D3 "No building recommended because of steepness and dangers of rock falls and debris flows. further clearing should be discouraged to avoid extensive degradation of scarps." (Cliffs or steep slopes) DCP page 107 D3.     
The DCP singled out the St Bernards site and Alpine Terrace as areas that could not be developed. "The Council will not approve uses of a non-residential nature such as eco-tourism facilities, tourist accomodation, tourist facilities or arts and crafts - related uses on the following frontages; Alpine Terrace".  DCP page 111, 3.3.2 (1).
Building, clearing or effluent absorption/transpiration areas shall generally not be permitted within 50 metres of Guanaba Creek except as determined by Council having regard to the potential for adverse environment impact on the creek. DCP, page (a) (iii).
The specified significant landscape character elements of the Escarpment Protection Area are: ......The catchment area of the headwaters of Guanaba Creek which is highly significant in ecological terms. DCP, page 114 3.6.1.                                                                                                  
Sewage treatment processes are essentially the same all around the world. The system relies heavily on bacteria to process the solids and liquid portions of the waste.

There are two main types of waste control or septic systems available in South Australia - the conventional system and aerobic systems. There are also a range of other systems available, such as composting toilets, reed beds etc however these systems are currently classified as non-complying and as such require approval from the Department of Health (DH) and not the local Council. If you are looking to install a non-complying system then you should direct all inquiries to the Department of Health (SA).

Septic System Anatomy

A septic tank, the key component of a septic system, is a small scale sewage treatment system common in areas with no connection to main sewage pipes provided by private corporations or local governments.

Proper design, installation, and maintenance of your septic system will maximize your system's life. It will prevent failures that can be unsightly, foul-smelling, and threatening to your family's health. Good maintenance reduces the risk of contaminating your well water, and may save you from costly repairs or system replacement.

A study by a University of Queensland PhD student is challenging the current design recommendations for septic trenches - the most common on-site treatment system in Australia.

Untreated household sewage will quickly clog all but the most porous gravels if applied directly to the soil. The function of the septic tank is to allow separation of the solids from the sewage so that the remaining liquid (effluent) can be absorbed into the ground without clogging the soil.

What is a septic system?

Possible Signs and Causes of a Failing Septic System

What Kinds of Soil Conditions Are Best Suited To a Conventional Septic System?