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Should I turn off my AWTS when I go away?

Wondering if it is safe to turn off the Aerated Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS) or Home Sewage Treatment Plant (HSTP) when you are going away for vacations?

You have come to the right place as we can help you with this conundrum.

Can I switch off my AWTS?


Whether you have a septic system , home sewage treatment plant or AWTS - Do NOT turn the power off when you go away on holidays. Like refrigerators, they need to work 24 x 7, 365 days.

Why not? You might be wondering.. keep reading to learn how your AWTS works and how disastrous it is to turn off the power supply.

Your AWTS consists of bacteria and to keep the system healthy and functioning, they need to be alive.

Bacteria keep multiplying in the AWTS as it gets nutrients and oxygen supply. On turning the power off, the bacteria won’t have a supply of oxygen and nutrients and they will begin dying within 8 hours.If you turned it off for a couple of hours, they might still have enough oxygen and nutrients to stay alive. They will return back to the previous level as soon as they get their food again.

But if you have turned it off for longer than 8 hours, bacteria will die and your system will stink for days. You might have to pump the system out and start from scratch. Power issues can cause the pump to burn out and lead to system failure.

In a nutshell, turning off the power to the AWTS can lead to more damage than you imagined.

Need help with your AWTS Maintenance? Let our wastewater experts help you.

How does an AWTS work?

AWTS is used to treat all household wastewater in different stages and in separate chambers with the help of anaerobic ( bacteria that can live without oxygen) and aerobic bacteria ( bacteria that needs oxygen to survive). There are four stages in the AWTS:

Anaerobic treatment and settlement

In the first stage, the anaerobic bacteria break down the waste and the wastewater is divided into scum and sludge. The solids settle down at the bottom forming the sludge layer and the fats/grease form the scum layer. The middle layer is the effluent layer consisting of liquid and dissolved solids.

Aerated treatment

The effluent is treated in the second chamber by aerobic bacteria where the waste is broken down further.

Clarification stage

In the third stage, the solids settle down further and they can be returned for further treatment to the first or second chamber.


The treated water is disinfected using chlorine or UV rays so it can be used for irrigation.

Material that cannot be broken down needs to be pumped out. Aerated wastewater treatment plants need to be serviced quarterly as stated by most of the local councils.

Aerated Wastewater Treatment System

DO's and DONT's for maintaining your Home Sewage Treatment Plant

AWTS need regular maintenance and for a healthy functioning of your system ensure that you:

  • Do NOT turn off the power supply to the AWTS
  • Do not use harmful chemicals in your home and flush it down the drains or sinks
  • Do not flush non-biodegradable materials - wet wipes, condoms, tampons, etc

In case you have switched off the power supply or there was a power outage in your area which has impacted the functioning of your AWTS, give us a call on 1300 722 517 . Alternatively, complete our complete our online booking form and we can come and take a look at it.