At Vivian Plumbing we can help you with the Shire Approval and liaise directly with the relevant authority to aid in the approval process. We can install, service and maintain your system to ensure it lasts for a lifetime.

We can also design and construct your septic tank system in accordance with the relevant shire regulations.

We have all the machines to install your septic apparatus and ensure the complete system is compliant with both Shire regulations and the Department of Health.

At Vivian Plumbing we guarantee we will install your system professionally and efficiently and will ensure you are satisfied with the result.

Call Vivian Plumbing for your obligation free quotation and experience a hassle free installation process by our professional staff, or alternatively email us your details and we will call you!


See below our frequently asked questions regarding Septic Tanks and Leech Drains:

What are Septic Tanks and Leech Drains?

Septic Tanks normally consist of 2 x Large Concrete Tanks which hold effluent from the building it serves. The First Septic tank is usually 1.5Mt Diameter and the second Tank is normally smaller at 1.2Mt in Diameter. The Concrete tanks will have either non-trafficable or trafficable lids and they will be 150mm thick or 60mm thick to suit, depending on the area surrounding.

Septic Tanks receive all the main effluent from the building it serves plumbed up under ground and connected to the Inlet of the Septic Tank. Within this tank a bacterial breakdown process takes place slowly breaking down the raw solid material and releasing this to the bottom of the tank forming a sludge like matter. The remaining liquid moves into the secondary tank where it under goes a further bacterial breakdown process where it finally overflows into the Leech Drains via a diverter valve. The diverter valve changes the effluent disposal between leech drains to allow recovery periods so one Leech drain doesn’t fill entirely and cause blockages and overfilling. By having a diverter valve the system is able to provide each leech Drain time to leech away into the ground, it is advised that the diverter valve is switched over every two years to enable recovery and allows the unused portion to dry out which rejuvenates the soils ability to receive effluent.

All Septic Tanks don’t need to be concrete and in some areas where concrete tanks are not available a Poly tank can be used of the same holding capacity as the generic Concrete Septic Tank.

Leech drains are a rectangle concrete box, without a bottom and along the sides has small louvers cast into the side wall to allow water to discharge out and soak into the surrounding ground. These are normally 1.2mtr Long x 720mm Wide and 750mm high and are installed after the Septic Tank via a diverter valve. Leech drains when installed butt up to each other, end to end and are installed in long lines (depending on the length required determined by your Local shire Representative). Once the Leech drain has been installed, concrete slabs are placed at each end to seal the Leech drain and prevent debris coming in to the drain and causing blockages.

The main aim of a Leech drain is to disperse the liquid that enters and help it soak away into the ground safely. By this time the liquid has been broken down and is removed of any solid material.


When do I need to install a Septic and Leech Drain?

Septic Tanks and Leech Drains are normally installed in areas where main sewerage is not available.


What length Leech drains do I need?

The length of a Leech drain depends on a number of factors and is determined by the Local Shire or The Department of Health. Those factors depend on Number of Fixtures within the building (Hydraulic Load) and the type of ground (Soil Type) where the system is likely to be installed. If for example the soil type is in clay ground, then the Leech drains won’t be able to flow and soak efficiently and therefore they may need to be fully inverted (Installed above ground) or the length of the Leech Drain increased to compensate for the soakage available.

In some instances the Leech drains may need to be installed higher than the Septic system and be required to be installed above ground in these instances a pump pit will be required placed after the Septic system and pumped up to the Leech Drain. The leech drain would then be fully inverted (installed on top of the ground) and covered in good quality self-draining soil fully surrounding both Leech Drains. This is very common in high clay areas where the soil is very cohesive and poor draining.

In most circumstances an average house with a bath/spa requires 2 x Septic Tanks and 2 x 13mtr Leech Drains.


The process of installing a Septic and Leech Drain system.

Sewage and effluent can contain a variety of human diseases causing organisms that can be spread to humans by direct or indirect contact either by consumption or contamination of food or water. Therefore, it is very important that the following procedures are met to ensure compliance is achieved and certification upon completion is provided.

Step 1– An Application to install an Apparatus” needs to be completed by either the owner of the property, the builder or the plumber. Once completed this needs to be sent in to the Local Authority (Shire Governing Body) along with the application. There are other documents required to be sent along with the application. For example: 3 copies of a site plan, 3 copies of a floor plan and number of people living at the premises (just to name a few).

By providing all the information on the application you are giving the Health officer all the necessary information they need to determine what system is required to be installed. Along with this application you will be provided to sketch on your site plan where you wish to install your effluent system, although you need to ensure it complies with all relevant setbacks and clearances.

These can be seen on the Health Departments Web Page:

Step 2- Once the application has been sent you will normally receive a reply within 4-6 weeks. In this time the Shire will prepare a comprehensive approval stipulating their requirements based on the information you have provided. This needs to be read carefully and given to your Plumber so installation can take place in accordance with the approval. This is also important for when the installation is completed as the Health Officer can attend site and inspect the installation to ensure all factors addressed in the approval are met and adhered to.

Step 3– Engage a Licensed Plumber to install your Septic System and Leech Drain. Once the work is completed and the system is installed, the Septic tanks will need to be filled with water and the Health officer given 48 hours’ notice to inspect. They will test the Septics to ensure no water has leaked and the water level is maintained. During the process the Health Officer will also measure and check the correct number of Leech Drains have been installed and ensure a diverter valve is positioned in the correct location. Once the Health Officer is satisfied with the installation they will issue a “Permit to Use Certificate”. This will certify the system can be used and complies with the regulations imposed. As a condition of receiving the certificate the licensed plumber must draw up an “As Constructed Plan” showing where the system has been installed and showing all set back measurements from buildings and boundaries. If the property is sold or developed in the future this information can be used to locate the system.


How do I decommission my Septic Tank?

This is a common question we at Vivian Plumbing get asked. It is a requirement by the Health Department that once sewer becomes available to your property you will be required to connect to it therefore leaving the Septic System unusable. When this occurs the Health Department will require the septic tanks to be decommissioned so they can no longer be used. The septic tanks will need to be pumped out by a licenced effluent disposal agency, then the bottom of the Septic Tanks broken. They will then be filled with clean sand to the top. This will prevent it being used in the future and any liquid that does enter the tank can be drained through the base.

The Leech Drains will need to be removed in its entirety and backfilled with clean sand. If they cannot be removed then they too will require pumping and to be broken with clean sand filled inside the Leech Drains

After this is performed a Decommissioning Certificate will need to be issued to The Health Department to stipulate this has been completed by a Licensed Plumber


How do I maintain my Septic and Leech Drain?

Maintaining your Septic system is crucial and ensures the system works correctly so the effluent is broken down and disposed into the ground safely. If the system is not serviced and maintained regularly it can be a very expensive exercise in replacing it in the future. A lot of our replacement work could have been prevented if the system was maintained correctly.

Blockages and the build-up of sludge caused by irregular maintenance are the most common occurrences and can be prevented by pumping the septic tanks out every three to four years to remove the build-up of sludge and prevent blockages within the system.

Always make sure the system is diverted between the two leech drains so the disbursement of liquid is even. If this is not done, the soil around the Leech drain can become very soggy and begin to smell.


Tips for a healthy Septic and Leech Drain

  1. Pump your Septic Tank out every 3- 4 Years by a licenced Liquid Waste Contractor
  2. Treat your Septic with Bio degradable enzyme every 6 months
  3. Allow little Fat and grease into the system
  4. Regularly switch your diverter valve over
  5. Do not dispose of non- biodegradable materials into the system
  6. Do not dispose of medicines, Biocides, Bleaches and heavy detergents in to the system


Call Vivian Plumbing for your obligation free quote and experience a hassle free installation process by our professional staff. Alternatively, email us your details and we will call you!