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or call us direct on p: 08 9248 9440

Unit 2/33 Harris Road
Malaga, WA

08 9248 9440

Ecowater Services is an West Australian government authorised servicer of wastewater recycling systems (aerobic treatment units) and distributor of Enviroplus cleaning products such as e-Flush, probiotics, active microbe remediation chemicals. Servicing Aquarius, Aqua-Nova, Biomax, Biosystems 2000, Graf ePro, Fujiclean and Taylex.

Ecowater Blog

Hey Google, why does my sewage system smell?

Support Team


Have you noticed a bad smell coming from your toilet, bathrooms, drains or septic wastewater sewage system?

How did my sewage system get smelly in the first place?  

Those wine dregs and kitchen grease you pour down the sink? That toilet duck and “little bit of bleach” you used in the bathrooms. That course of antibiotics you’ve been taking? These substances kill off good bacteria and clog up your ATU limiting your sewage systems ability to efficiently break down waste.

There are a number of factors that contribute to bad smells and odours in septic sewage systems such as alternative wastewater systems like Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU’s).

The cause of bad smells in ATU wastewater systems include:

  • Poor bacterial health within the system

  • Insufficient residence time of water in the system

  • Stagnant water and debris in drains

  • Venting issues (airlocks) with the sewer line and s-bend

  • System flooding and internal blockages

Poor bacterial health within the system

Aerobic Treatment Units rely on a healthy bacterial flora to assist in efficiently breaking down waste. This bacteria is harmed and can be destroyed completely by inputs such as prescription medicine use and harsh chemicals used in cleaning. It’s really important that you monitor what’s going down your drains and dispose of substances that are harmful to the ATU in other ways. Download our free list of Absolute Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy ATU here.  

Residence time of water in the system

If your using a lot of water over a short period in showers, baths or laundry, this can result in too much water entering the ATU at once and not allow sufficient residence time in the main chamber of the ATU. Also if the solids tank of your system is quite full it takes up space that effluent would normally be digesting in and this can lead to effluent being under processed due to lesser residence time.

Stagnant water and debris in drains

Sometimes stagnant water can sit in pipes that aren’t regularly flushed or a buildup of soap scum, non-biodegradable objects (toys, sanitary products etc), kitchen grease or stale air in drains can cause a bad odour. Visit the Water Corporations What not to flush page While you are not connected to mains sewage, the same principles of caring about what goes down the drains apply. Your toilet is no place for the disposal of cotton buds or “flushable” wipes. We recommend applying the advice of the Water Corporation to your Aerobic Treatment Unit.

What happens if I ignore bad smells?

A bad smell in your wastewater treatment system can often be the cause of something seriously wrong. Left untreated, waste is not able to break down efficiently. At its worst (and yes, we’ve seen this happen) this build up may result in unprocessed sewage overflowing onto your property straight from the ATU and effluent coming back up your drains and toilet and overflowing into your home - you’ll be faced with not only a messy cleanup job, but emergency callout fees, the possibility of a Total System Evacuation (pump out) and an unplanned for bill for repairs.

The Solution? Take a proactive approach to ATU care

Be proactive. Start using Ecocare Activator and our approved range cleaning products and papers to bring balance back to the system. Stop using bleach and harsh chemical cleaners today. Wipe the grease off cooking pans and plates before they go in the dishwasher.

Want to know more about proactive steps to a healthier ATU? Talk to our friendly Support Team on 08 9248 9440 today!

Don’t forget to complete our customer survey for your chance to win a Google Home Mini or Cleaning Product Prize Pack! T’s&C’s apply*

*This promotion is open to current customers with a valid Maintenance Agreement in place.

Periodic dosing of ATU sewage systems - A Proactive, Peace of Mind Solution for Business

Roslyn McKay

We recently concluded empirical testing of Insight Environmental Ecocare Activator and Culture AB via periodic peristaltic dosing in the field on a particularly neglected Aerobic Treatment Unit operating in the fast food industry. This ATU was full of grease, fats, and oils (FOGs), resulting in frequent and expensive callouts due to blockages, very poor bacterial health and effluent quality. We’d show you pictures, but don’t want to put you off your lunch.

The resulting “recycled” water being distributed into the ATU reticulation field was far below the Department of Health standards posing a public health risk. This problematic system also required frequent emergency callouts and total septic evacuation much more regularly than it should have been required.

We have been astounded at how effective the Insight Environmental product was in turning the health of the system around very quickly and keeping it healthy in the long term with regular dosing despite the inputs of FOG’s into the ATU.

What kinds of facilities should consider a periodic peristaltic dosing option?

Businesses with a periodically high hydraulic load on the ATU including

  • Restaurants and fast food outlets

  • Pubs and wineries

  • Function centres

  • Sporting grounds

Residential care facilities where system inputs such as antibiotics and chemotherapy medicines may not be able to be controlled

  • Aged Care

  • Hospitals

  • Rehabilitation centres

  • Campgrounds

Educational institutions

  • Childcare centres

  • Schools

  • Tafes and Universities

We need to talk about the WHITE STUFF

Roslyn McKay


(and no, it's not snow)
Okay, so we know you like to keep things white. 'cause white is alright, yeah?
Err... no.

You may have been told that a little bit of the bleachy stuff is okay but we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't remind you that using bleach in your sinks or Napisan in the washing machine is not okay. Bleach-based products quickly kill all the good bacteria that is doing its extra important job of breaking down your poos and wees.

When this process is compromised your system may start smelling, getting blocked and well, can we just say that things can get pretty ugly for our technicians from there!

Just say no! 

Saying no to the white stuff is easier than you think. Think green, and follow our Absolute Do's and Don'ts for a Healthy ATU. Be sure to use only ATU safe cleaning products and papers. Look for septic safe labels and shop our range here

What's in it for you? 

Less money on callouts, less money on repairs and a greatly reduced chance of you needing a costly Total System Evacuation (pumpout) before it is due.

WA wildflower go to guide

Roslyn McKay

It's Wildflower Season!
What are your plans to get out in nature this weekend and seeing our state showing off in her best floral outfits?


Thanks to all the winter rain we have had, Western Australia is currently awash with colour in a stunning floral display of wildflowers.

Experts are saying this is one of the best displays in years. We've compiled a quick reference guide to where to find the best displays. Enjoy!

Wildflowers in the News

Wheatbelt Toursim guide

Wildflower Society of Western Australia

Kings Park Festival

How to choose a septic safe toilet paper

Roslyn McKay

Which toilet paper is right for you?

Septic, AWTS, ATU’s, long drop and caravan toilets require a different approach to keep them running efficiently. Learn about polymer free, recycled and bioactive toilet papers.

Read More

Stay Warm, Stay Well

Roslyn McKay

Stay Warm Stay Well

Chicken Soup for the mind, body and soul

Winter is well and truly here. It's the season of keeping cozy, warm fires and hot, nourishing winter cooking. It's also the time of year that we are often fighting colds, infections and flu.

At Ecowater Services, our team loves to share healthy food together and standout recipes. When winter chills set in, we love to make Jo Whitton's (of Quirky Cooking blog fame)  Coconut Lemon Chicken Soup recipe. 

You may know that Chicken Soup is proven to help cure colds and when it's made with homemade chicken broth, anti-inflammatory turmeric, fresh lemon juice, ginger and garlic it becomes a bug fighting powerhouse! 

We hope you love it as much as we do. Let us know what you think!

A note about ATU's and antibiotic use.

Did you know that while antibiotics are fighting the bad bugs in your body, they are also killing all the helpful bacteria in your alternative wastewater system?

We know that it's sometimes impossible to avoid antibiotics and our bodies need them to get well. Just like you would use a probiotic to help your guts flora return to a balanced state, your ATU will benefit from probiotic bacterias in e-Zyme crystals, e-Flush toilet cleaner, e-Shine bathroom cleaners and Bioactiv toilet tissue. Learn more about the ATU friendly cleaning products we stock here.

Ecowater Services partner with businesses and homeowners to provide quality service and maintenance of Aerobic Treatment Units such as Aquarius, Aqua-Nova, Biomax, Biosystems 2000, Fujiclean, Taylex and Graf E Pro systems.

We are here to help!


Looking after your ATU - Chamber Sets

Roslyn McKay

What is a chamber set?

Our techs are frequently called out to attend to a chamber set failure this hard working component of your ATU runs non stop 24 hours per day making bubbles of air. These bubbles float up through the effluent feeding the aerobic bacteria as they go.

Most Aerobic Treatment Units with air pumps have one of these chamber sets installed. the high temperatures we experience here in Perth and regional Western Australia shorten the life of this hard working component. An overheated chamber set can easily tear and stop the operation of the air pump.

Many properties around WA are fitted with aeration Housing covers that are made with plastic or fibreglass and offer inadequate ventilation for these high temperatures.

The expected life span of a chamber set is around 12 months in our climate. Obviously, if it’s exposed to heat, not ventilated, painted black or not shaded, then it will mostly not last the expected 12 months.

What can you do about it?

  1. Check your air pump. Does it look like it has adequate ventilation? (Some older style ATU’s have small “window vents” cut into them.)

  2. Avoid painting your aeration housing black. It can raise the temperature that your air pump has to operate in by several degrees on a hot day and this will cause early diaphragm failure.

  3. Plant shade giving foliage close by to keep the air pump cool.

  4. Ask us about installing a breathable cover for your air pump.

Why is important to help minimise temperature around my chamber set?

If your chamber set becomes overheated, the pump will fail and the ATU will not be able to adequately do it’s job. When the air pump stops working the system will start to get stinky and this is not something that we would wish you to experience. Keep an eye on your alarm panel or strobe light. It should tell you if you have a problem with your air pump.

Questions? Call the friendly team at Ecowater Services on 9248 9440. We’re here to help.


Which plants thrive with ATU reticulated water?

Roslyn McKay

One of the biggest challenges facing gardeners in Perth are the long hot summers and water restrictions. It is tempting to forgo the garden for paving or synthetic turf, however lawns and gardens provide many benefits for the homeowner. Lawns and foliage can reduce the temperature around the home and act as air conditioners.

Read More

Learn more about e-Flush. Now in Wild Cherry scent.

Roslyn McKay

e-Flush’s friendly ingredients won’t damage the bacterial balance in your ATU (unlike bleach-based cleaners) and it’s designed with ATU’s in mind. e-Flush’s job is to digest organic waste at the source of odour, replacing bad bacteria with beneficial good microbes. 

These microbes penetrate porous surfaces and establish effective, self-renewing biofilms deep inside inaccessible plumbing lines. The microbes work to clean, refresh, eliminate organic waste build up and deodorise by successfully destroying the source of the unpleasant odours. Best of all, it’s pet, people and planet friendly! Shop the complete range now.

Tech Talk - Decoding the QMR

Roslyn McKay

Hi! If we haven’t met, I’m Robyn Haines, co-owner of Ecowater Services with Warren Haines. 

Over the next few issues of our e-news I am going to put the magnifying glass on some important aspects of ATU ownership. In this edition, we’ll be looking at planning ahead and how you can minimise “bill shock” when it comes to some of the costs associated with maintaining your ATU. 

Planning ahead is about the ongoing maintenance of a home or property. In the seven years I have been talking with ATU owners, I can’t count the number of times that the need for a pump out has been bad timing financially or came as a complete surprise.  

So to help you be prepared, I strongly recommend you take regular notice ofITEM 11 Anaerobic Chamber on your Quarterly Maintenance Report (QMR).  This is where you will find the information you need to plan ahead for the considerable and unavoidable cost of a pump out.

Kitchen and laundry appliances, walls with paint, floors and other fixtures and finishes all, at some point, need either proactive or remedial care.  Same goes for your ATU system - it really is just another household appliance. And it actually is inevitable - one day your ATU will need to have all the solid waste removed, or in other words - be “pumped out.”

While the measure of fullness of the anaerobic chamber is not a guess by your technician, what they see in your ATU is strongly influenced by the “cultural practices” of the residents. In other words, what goes down the drain or is flushed away can drastically change what can be “seen” and how the ATU “behaves”.

 If your technician suspects that your system is getting full they will then use a “sludge judge” to accurately measure the percentage of fullness - i.e. the amount of solid matter in your ATU.  As an ATU gets “full” the air pump and water pump will be under a heavier load. Failure to schedule a pump out when the ATU is full can cause costly damage not just to your pumps but also the infrastructure of your ATU.

The minimum that you should plan for is $1400 (based on an ATU capacity of 6500L). Ecowater Services only recommend experienced septic truck operators. Use caution if you are getting quotes - discuss their experience and the volume they are quoting you on. Expensive damage can be incurred by using inferior service providers.  

If you have any questions about what has been reported on your QMR please don’t hesitate to contact us in the office or ask your technician when he is on site.  If you would like to discuss “pre-paying” to prepare for the cost of a pump out please contact our friendly Support Team on 08 9248 9440.

In the next issue of e-news I’ll go through some of the other terminology that your technician uses in ITEM 11 on the QMR.

Thanks for taking the time to educate yourself about your ATU.

Robyn :)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Roslyn McKay

If you have an Aerobic Treatment Unit (ATU) at your place, there are some specific things happening down your drain. Read on to learn a little more about how your ATU breaks down waste and how to keep it happy. Let's face it... no-one wants to deal with a stinky blow-out.

Ever wonder what happens to everything that goes down the drain? How to keep Gordon the good guy happy and Barry the Bad guy away? How to stop The Ugly Truth from rearing its even uglier head? Read on on to better understand what happens when you turn on the tap, flush and pull the plug.



Say hi to Gordon. Gordon the Good Bacteria is here to save the day. He’s working bacterial miracles down your drain. Fighting the bad guys and keeping things smelling sweet.

Cleaning products from the Enviroplus range give him pro-biotic superpowers. Ignored and abused, he loses his will to live and gets defeated by Barry, the Bad Bacteria.


Barry is your frenemy*, smells great, says all the right things, behaves perfectly in public...but behind your back he’s working hard to make life miserable in your ATU and make life miserable for you.

You might know him as oxygen bleach, detergent, baby wipes, fats and oils including some essential oils. It's vital to know what your pouring down your sink and how it's going to affect the biology in you ATU. 

Click through to our comprehensive list of what NOT to put down your drains.

*(A frenemy is a friend that is really an enemy).


The Ugly Truth is just that. The ugly, inconvenient and smelly reality of things gone wrong in your ATU. It’s making it’s presence felt - all through the house. Let’s face it, no-one wants to meet this guy. Ever.

So how do you keep this Baddie away? Firstly, by keeping your Ecowater Services quarterly maintenance up-to-date. Secondly, use household cleaning products and toilet paper that supercharge the good bacteria working hard in your ATU.

Ecowater Services uses and recommends Enviroplus. This small change can make a really big difference to the health of your ATU and save you money in the long-term.