I grew up a townie and only moved on to acreage 5 years ago, this is when I first learnt of the responsibility of having a septic system. No longer was it the water authority responsibility to take away my effluent to some far distant sewage works. The property we purchased had not been maintained and one of the first things we were to discover was that the persistent aroma was not caused by local wildlife, but a rather overflowing tank, right outside our bedroom window. So we looked in the local newspaper for a solution. The next day out comes a large tanker to remove our pungent pile which was to be one of the worst tanks, our soil man had ever come across. Apparently the thick gluppy topping is not meant to go all the way to the bottom of the tank. This is a clear indicator that it is way overdue to be emptied. The baffle was broken and needed repair in the main tank, and also an attempt was made to suck out the transpiration pits. We knew were they were, by the long green luscious patch of grass. I also learnt, that I had to be very careful about what I put down the sink, toilet and shower. Toilets only use non bleached paper and as little as possible so that it has more chance of breaking down. (Try to get a 6 year old to go easy on the loo roll – lol) So the next day my trip to the supermarket established that there are several brands suitable including own brands such as Coles ( I rang their customer service to confirm as this was not clear on the packaging, another one of my annoyances not to have a clear septic safe logo that is nationally recognised) the dull off white colour of the paper indicated to me that it was not bleached, so was a worthwhile exercise to find a cheaper brand than SAFE. Not as soft according to my husband, so you know who did the shopping last week in our house, by the brand in the bathroom. Then I went looking at Washing Liquid and Dishwasher Powder, there are clear brands that state they are suitable for septic, without all the nasties EcoStore etc, now 5 years later Woolworths and Coles have started to introduce their own brand. Lastly I looked at shampoo, conditioner and shower gel and soaps, again I found myself with the same brands Earth, Organics etc. I also turned to Green Cleaning to make up some of my own cleaning products, with Eucalyptus and White Vinegar a firm favourite. I also discovered you can put lime down your toilet to balance out all the acid wee and to help give it a clean. There are also bio activator products both liquid and granular to get good bacteria into your septic to break down those solid lumps. Finally never ever put bleach anywhere near your sanitary chinaware, a sure way to kill off those flourishing flora in your tank. Oh and don’t leave it too long to get the soil man in, depending on your household (average of 4 to a family) approximately 3 years at around $320 a visit, that is around $106 a year.