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Based in the BOP and offering services throughout the North Island

Liquid Waste Removal Specialists

Petes Septic

Petes Takeaways specialised Septic Tank Trucks
The Septic Tank emptying process

Septic Tank Cleaning

Petes Takeaways have been emptying and maintaining septic tanks in the wider Bay of Plenty region for over 40 years. We have seen how septic tanks have evolved over time, and bring the experience and expertise necessary to be able to deal with all types of septic tanks, from the traditional concrete tanks to modern multi-chamber septic systems.
Septic tanks should be emptied and maintained on a regular 3-4 yearly cycle (for an average sized family of four). This may be required more frequently depending on the tank size and the number of people living on the property.
Petes Takeaways has an extensive database of most septic tanks throughout the Bay of Plenty and surrounding area, many of which we have serviced since the early 1980s. Our data base has detailed information for most septic tank locations. This information is available remotely to our operators which allows Petes Takeaways to access the property, locate the septic tank and get the job done, with the minimum disruption to our customers.
Petes Takeaways can also certify and issue a septic tank warrant of fitness, as required by Environment Bay of Plenty.
The Septic Tank emptying process

Septic Tank Emptying Process

Our operators are required to dig down to the lid of the septic tank, remove the lid and then pump the septic tank out. Removing a septic tank lid is the only way to ensure the tank is cleaned properly. Only in the case where the lid is not accessible, for example under tar-seal, concrete or buildings, will Petes Takeaways pump through the mushroom, with the owner’s consent.
Where possible we sod the grass and do our best to ensure minimum disruption to the lawn. Under normal circumstances customers do not need to be at home when the tank is being emptied.
How can you assist us prior to the emptying process?
Often septic tanks can have a heavy build-up of septic solids. For best emptying results, water is used to break the solids down. Leaving a hose attached to the nearest fitting with enough length to run to your septic tank is helpful, as is ensuring the best access for our trucks.
Having dogs under control, children supervised and away from our trucks and the septic tank area is also important.
If well maintained, modern tanks typically only require the primary chamber to be pumped, however, they can require more maintenance than traditional tanks, it is important that you know what is required. Please discuss your septic tank maintenance with your supplier.
Septic Tank Care.
Diagramme courtesy of BOP Regional Council

Septic Tank Care

How do they work?

Wastewater from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom, discharges into a septic tank buried on the property. The heavier solids settle to the bottom of the tank, while fats float to the top. The remaining liquid flows out of the tank and discharges into a soakage area (either a dispersal or evaporation field).

Modern septic systems may have pumps, and pressurised disposal with multiple chambers and filters. Speak to the manufacturer of your system to get an understanding of how your system works. The information given here applies mostly to older style systems, concrete underground tanks with mushrooms.
Maintenance is crucial
A poorly-maintained septic tank can become a serious health hazard, spreading disease and contaminating water sources. Septic tanks need regular maintenance, some of which you can do yourself and some of which you’ll need professional help with. Learn about your particular system and keep a maintenance record. Include drawings of the system, mapping out its exact location. Your local council may be able to provide you with some of these details. Newer systems often include a maintenance contract in their price. Regular emptying and maintenance is critical to the life and effectiveness of your septic tank.
Avoid planting trees over septic tanks or soakage fields, as roots can crack tanks and pipework, also avoid driving over these areas. The use of wipes is not recommended under any circumstances.


Blockages are usually a sign that the sewage disposal system either requires maintenance or repair. Blockages can be either between the house and septic tank, or between the tank and the soakage area.

A blockage between the house and septic tank could be caused by the scum layer of the tank plugging the inlet pipe at the tank, or it may be a blocked gully trap. Try clearing the blockage with a rubber plunger or drainage rod. If this does not work, you should contact a plumber or drain layer. If scum is blocking the inlet pipe, it is likely that the tank needs to be pumped out. Call Petes Takeaways.
A blockage between the septic tank and soakage area could be due to a lack of maintenance and is likely to be caused by:
  1. A blocked tank outlet could be due to deterioration of the outlet baffle, particularly on an older system. You will need to have the tank pumped and the baffle replaced — give us a call.
  2. An obstructed line to the soakage area could be due to either solids passing through the septic tank or broken pipes. Call us to get the tank pumped out and arrange to have any broken pipes repaired.
  3. A clogged soakage area can happen naturally over time. If possible, rest the soakage area. This is possible with many modern systems that have two dispersal lines. However, switching lines should be done in the summer when soil temperatures are high.
  4. Seepage or swampy conditions in the soakage area can be due to the soakage area being too small, or a clogged soakage area.
Unblocking of drains, pipes and gully traps at Petes Takeaways

Older systems versus new

Older septic tank systems may have trouble coping with the amount of water modern living produces. For example, if you have extended your home and added extra bathrooms without expanding the sewerage system.
You can try to reduce the amount of water you are putting into the system. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to consider a larger system. Contact your local council for more advice on this.