Pressure Sewer Systems

Council’s water and sewer group operates a pressure sewer system in Maison Dieu, Gowrie, McDougalls Hill and a small section of Redbournberry because of the unsuitability and/or cost of providing a conventional gravity sewer system.  Developments within these areas must connect to this system to treat their wastewater.

What is the Pressure Sewer System?

A pressure sewer system consists of four components installed within the property which are connected to a network of pressure sewer mains in your area.  These pressure sewer mains transfer wastewater to the conventional sewer reticulation mains and onto the sewer treatment plant for processing.  The systems installed in Singleton are Aquatec Pressure Sewer Units.  The four components are:

  • Control panel; a metal box holding the pump controls and alarm system for the pump, usually fixed to the wall near the power box/switchboard
  • Pump and tank unit including a power supply; a tank in which the submersible grinder pumping unit and level probe is located, typically made from polyethene or poly and/or fiberglass
  • Discharge pipe; the pipeline from the pressure sewer unit to the pressure sewer main, via the boundary kit, and
  • Boundary kit; a valve box at the property boundary incorporating an isolation valve, non-return valve and inspection tee.

There is not much you need to do once the system is installed and if used correctly, very little that can go wrong.  From the alarm level to the top water level allows for approximately 24 hours emergency storage level, meaning you can still use the system for 24 hours even after the alarm sounds. All pressure sewer systems are subject to an Installation, Maintenance and Service Agreement with Council.

Sewer responsiblity diagram

Using the Pressure Sewer System

A pressure sewer system operates like a conventional sewerage system, taking waste from the toilet, kitchen, bathroom and laundry and transporting it to the sewer treatment plant. Just like a conventional sewer system, the pressure sewer system is designed to treat degradable sewage, so to help Council protect the sewer system and prevent blockages and damage to your pressure sewer components it is important to put the right things down the toilet, sink and outdoor drains.

To avoid blockages and damage the following items should NOT be put into the system:

ITEMOPTIONS
Cat litterDispose along with household rubbish
Chemicals, pesticides, motors oils and lubricantsContact Council’s Waste Management Facility for information on services provided
Cooking oils and fatsCollect in a sealed container and dispose along with household rubbish
Cosmetics and cotton budsDispose along with household rubbish
Flammable materials and explosivesContact Council’s Waste Management Facility for information on services provided
Fruit and vegetable wasteCompost or dispose along with household rubbish
Household CleanersFollow disposal directions on packaging
Household paintContact Council’s Waste Management Facility for information on services provided
Nappies and sanitary productsDispose along with household rubbish
Petrol or dieselContact Council’s Waste Management Facility for information on services provided
Pills and medicinesHand into the chemist in the original container
Plastics and/or bagsDispose along with household rubbish
Sand, gravel (including aquarium stones) and coffee grindsDispose along with household rubbish
Seafood shellsCompost or dispose along with household rubbish
Socks, rags or clothesDispose along with household rubbish
Solid materials, glass and metalsDispose along with household rubbish
Stormwater and yard drainageDrains to the stormwater system
Toilet freshenersDispose along with household rubbish
Wet wipes and flushable wipesDispose along with household rubbish, including those labelled as "flushable"
Yoghurt and other dairyDispose along with household rubbish


The above items should not be placed in any form of sewerage system. 

Council’s Water and Sewer Group Customer Service Plan provides further information on the pressure sewer system in your area.

WHAT TO DO IF AN ALARM SOUNDS

  • Turn off the sound of the alarm by pressing the mute button underneath the alarm panel.   This will turn of the noise, but the alarm light will still be on. 
  • Wait an hour and check if the light on the alarm panel is still on:
  • If the alarm light is off, the panel is no longer in alarm and nothing further needs to happen.  For a power outage the pressure sewer unit will automatically clear itself and the alarm will switch itself off within an hour.  You will know if this has happened because the alarm light will go out.
  • If the alarm panel light is still active after the hour, call Singleton Council Customer Service Centre on 02 6578 7290.
  • Give Council’s Customer Service Officer your name, address and telephone number and advise the pressure sewer alarm has sounded and the light is still active.

Council’s Water and Sewer Group Network Delivery Team will attend the site and clear the blockage or repair the fault.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR THE UNIT YOURSELF.

REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PRESSURE SEWER SYSTEM

Council undertakes repairs and maintenance of the sewer pump located in each system for an annual fee.  This includes responding to alarm and emergency calls and covers maintenance and repairs due to system faults and faulty equipment.  This annual fee is in addition to any other sewerage charges applicable and is invoiced annually to the owner.

At no time are the pressure sewer unit or its components to be adjusted, services, or relations by any person other than Council’s Water and Sewer Delivery Team staff. Any damaged caused to the pressure sewer system as a result of malicious damage, miss use or substances not permitted entering the sewer system, the property owner will be responsible for the actual costs associated with rectification works.

Ensure access is available to the components of the pressure sewer system at all times, to ensure Council staff can attend to alarms, and service and repair the unit when necessary.  All plant growth and other debris should be kept clear of the unit to ensure the safety of Council staff.

Additional information, together with the responsibility for the systems, and contact numbers in the event of problems can be found in the Sewer Supply Services Policy, Pressure Sewer System Maintenance Agreement and Customer Guideline.

TROUBLE SHOOTING AND HELPFUL HINTS

Planning on building or renovating….

Contact Council if you are planning on building structures, renovating or extending the dwelling or installing a pool or spa that will affect the discharge into the pressure sewer pumping unit or may be over or near the discharge pipe.  Contact Council’s Water and Sewer Development Engineer for further information.

The system is damaged and needs repairs…

If there is an alarm sounding follow the advice above ‘What to do if an alarm sounds?’.

If there is a break in the discharge pipe, turn off the power to the pump unit in your switchboard, and report the damage to Council on T 02 6578 7290 during business hours or after hours and minimise water usage until it is repaired.  Make sure Council Water and Sewer Network Delivery Operators have safe and easy access to the pump for repair.

If it is a water supply pipe, turn off your water supply at the meter and call a plumber for the repair (this is your responsibility).

The unit is smelly…

When operating normally there should be no noticeable smell coming from the unit.  If it does get smelly, the unit may need flushing.  To flush the unit run clean water down your kitchen, bathroom or laundry sink for about 10 minutes.  If this does not remove the smell and it remains, contact Council during business hours.

There are wet spots around the pumping unit and discharge pipe…

Pressure sewer pumping units and discharge pipes are totally sealed, if you notice any wet spots around the unit or discharge pipe and there hasn’t been any recent rain, contact Council on 02 6578 7290 during business hours or after hours and minimise water usage until it is repair. 

The alarm keeps going off when it rains….

If the alarm is sounding when there is rain, storm or rain water may be getting in to the system and overloading it.  Contact your plumber to investigate, this is your responsibility and will be at your cost.  The discharge of stormwater to the sewerage network is prohibited, so it is best to rectify this as soon as possible.

The neighbour’s alarm is going off and they are away….

If you neighbour is away and the pressure sewer alarm is sounding or the alarm light is lit, contact Council on 02 6578 7290 during business hours or after hours and report the problem.  Do not investigate or try to fix the problem yourself. 

There is a power outage….

If there is a power outage, reduce water use where possible until the power has been restored.  The alarm may sound until the pumping unit has cleared, if the alarm sounds or the light is still lit for over an hour after the power has been restored, contact Council on 02 6578 7290 during business hours or after hours and minimise water usage until it is repair. 

Accidentally broke the discharge line or pumping unit….

Take care when digging in the garden near the discharge pipe or pumping unit.  If you accidentally break the discharge pipe or pumping unit, contact Council immediately and miminise water use in the house.  Do not attempt to repair the system yourself.  You will be responsible for the cost of these repairs.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A PRESSURE SEWER SYSTEM ON YOUR PROPERTY

Apply to install a pressure sewer system is a twofold process.  The supply and installation of the pressure sewer system components are assessed, quoted and installed by Council’s Water and Sewer Group.  The application to install an Onsite Sewerage Management System and the associated fees is a legislative requirement section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) and is the responsibility of Council’s Planning and Environment Group. 

To apply for a pressure sewer system on your property:

  • Contact a Customer Service Officer to determine if pressure sewer is available to the property
  • Complete and submit a Pressure Sewer Quotation Request to Council’s Water and Sewer Group.  Applications must include site plan and proposed floor plan
  • Council’s Water and Sewer Group will conduct a site visit, investigate any site issues, and prepare a pricing and installation schedule
  • Sign and return the Installation, Maintenance and Service Agreement and confirm the proposed location of the pressure sewer system components
  • Council’s Water and Sewer Group will execute the agreement, stamp the plans and provide the system specifications for lodgement of the Section 68 Application for Installation and Operations of On-Site Sewerage Management System with Council’s Planning and Environment Group. 

On approval of the Section 68 Application, Council’s Water and Sewer Group will raise and invoice for the supply and installation of the pressure sewer system and liaise with you to plan the installation of the system.  Payment must be made in full prior to installation.

Once installation is complete Council’s Water and Sewer Group will organise for the annual maintenance fees to be raised against the property.  The first year will be set on a pro-rata basis.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you require further information on the pressure sewer system, please refer to the Owner Manual, or contact Council Water and Sewer Development Engineer on  T 02 6578 7290 or email council@singleton.nsw.gov.au.