Choosing a natural alternative - Sustainable Solutions NZ
Choosing a natural alternative

Choosing a natural alternative

NaturalFlow is an ideal wastewater solution for New Zealand’s rural homes and businesses. These robust, power-free sewage treatment systems have very few maintenance requirements and are cost-effective throughout their lifetime.

Words by Justin Foote

Most of us over a certain age would have, at some time or other, lived in or holidayed at a property that had a septic tank due to the rural setting of said property. For the most part, it wouldn’t have impacted our lives terribly much except when needing to be pumped out or some unforeseen issue impacted its viability.

With 13 per cent of the population still living rurally, chances are many homes still rely on the trusty septic system for their wastewater treatment. There is an alternative that is more environmentally friendly and even less time consuming in terms of maintenance, says Caleb Pirini, Sales Manager for Waterflow.

“NaturalFlow by Waterflow brings you truly passive wastewater treatment systems. Passive water treatment systems are those that do not have an external power source, have no perceptible operation, and do not require chemical reagents to conduct treatment.

“NaturalFlow is an eco-friendly way to treat wastewater as the system utilises vermiculture to replicate nature’s biological purification processes. For owners, this means long-term treatment options, minimal costs and minimal supervision.”

An integral part of the NaturalFlow system is the disposal field, seen here planted out with a number of beneficial plants. Recommended wetland plants help to soak up wastewater in the soil keeping your disposal field in tip-top shape.

NaturalFlow: the low-maintenance solution to wastewater treatment

Caleb says the usual process is that the client contacts the company for a site visit to establish site parameters, which is usually conducted within 10 working days of receiving the call.

“At that time borehole samples are collected to be used in the preparation of the quote, then, once the client has accepted the quote a report is prepared and used for council consent. After consent has been granted, an installation date—following laying of the foundation—is arranged; installation usually takes around one to one-and-a-half days.

“Our team will also project management the whole process, giving homeowners the peace of mind that they are being cared for. Once installed, at around two weeks after the owners have moved into their new home, the system is commissioned—which takes around 30–45 minutes—and the technician will run through system maintenance with the owners as well as ongoing servicing of the system by a Waterflow technician.

“Being involved in the process right from the start not only minimises issues should they arise but also has the additional benefit for the homeowner of having one point of contact from that initial meeting to the next 30 years.”

It is best to place your disposal field in an area of little to no human, heavy animal or vehicular traffic so as to ensure that the pipes aren't inadvertently ruptured or the field compromised in any way.

NaturalFlow: passive, not inactive

“At the end of the day, a NaturalFlow system is a long-term investment and yes, it does require ongoing upkeep but this is minimal on the part of the owner as the majority of any servicing is carried out by one of our technicians,” says Caleb.

“During the annual servicing, the technician does a visual assessment of the modules to ensure the system is healthy and then carries out a “flush-out” of the discharge tank; that’s usually all that is required as the worm colony is self-maintaining. Systems with PCDI fields will need to be flushed every 3-6 months which the homeowner can usually do themselves.’

The system is calculated based on peak wastewater production, which is usually regulated by local councils, says Caleb, however, a typical residential system is capable of processing up to 1600 litres per day, equivalent to a six-bedroom house.

“Really, it is the ideal solution for rural homes and businesses, allowing people to reduce their waste footprint. Plus, the ongoing costs are negligible as it usually costs nothing to power the system.”

The fact that there is no sludge build up/accumulation means that no wastewater or wastewater by products are removed from site making the customer completely self-sufficient.

The system and its components carry a 15-year warranty, however, homeowners can reliably expect 20-plus years as the standard life expectancy of the system, says Caleb, providing they adhere to the maintenance requirements, such as ensuring that only non-toxic chemicals enter the system.

Learn more about passive wastewater treatment systems and the benefits they can bring to your rural home or business.

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