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Wastewater Pricing Breakdown

How much does it cost to run a wastewater treatment plant?

The ongoing operating costs of each wastewater treatment option needs to be considered when selecting the ideal system for your home. We've put together a handy guide to provide an idea of how much it will cost to run options like a septic tank, HSTP, and sand filter system to help you with the selection process.

Express Wastewater Solutions are not aligned with any one system or style of wastewater treatment, we pride ourselves on matching your requirements and property type with a top quality, practical solution. This can end up saving you up to and over $15,000. Below is some information about some of the common onsite sewage treatment options and the benefits and costs involved in operating each style.

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Septic tank & absorption trenches

Conventional septic systems have been around longer than any other wastewater treatment option in Australia. These systems are generally the cheapest and least hassle long term option to dispose of effluent, especially in a gravity-based system.

How does a septic system work?

The wastewater from your house flows into a septic tank via the drains and is broken down to a liquid. The treated effluent is then distributed gently into the ground through a series of absorption trenches. The effluent can flow from the septic tank to the absorption trenches by gravity or can also be pumped if needed.

  • Benefits of septic tank systems – Save on servicing which can be approx $320 per year and power costs of around $300 per year. Septic tanks require minimal maintenance as many are gravity fed removing the need for a pump and pump maintnenace costs. Savings estimated at around $1000 per year compared to other options.
  • Limitations of septic tanks – this option is reliant on permeable soil, separation from the water table, distance to creeks, dams bore ect, and depth of soil over an impermeable barrier, so may not be suitable for all properties.

Breakdown of septic tank running costs:

Gravity system septic tank

  • A pump out your septic tank is required every 5-10 years depending on the usage and size of the septic tank. Cost - $200 - $400 ($40 per year)

Pumped system septic tank

  • Power consumption to run the pump is around $30 - $40 per year, depending on usage.
  • Pumps will last, on average, 5 years. Pump replacement and installation costs approx $600, this will depend on the type and size of pump. ($120 per year)

Aerated wastewater treatment system - AWTS

(also commonly known as Biocycle, HSTP)

What is an aerated wastewater treatment system & how does it work?

An aerated wastewater treatment plant uses an air blower to promote the growth of the aerobic bacteria which helps to breakdown and treat effluent. The added treatment stage in an AWTS disinfects the effluent, allowing it to be used safely for limited irrigation. This disinfection process is normally achieved using chlorination. This method of treating effluent is probably the most versatile option and is generally fairly cost effective in terms of the cost of installation. The further water treatment of this system means that you can disperse your effluent via surface or subsurface irrigation.

  • Benefits of AWTS – versatility, reuse water for irrigation, generally affordable to install.
  • Limitations of aerated wastewater treatment plants – AWTPs require quarterly servicing, require reliable power to operate, and incorporate mechanical parts that may require maintenance or repairs.

Breakdown of AWTS running cost’s

  • Servicing costs - approx $300 - $320 per year
  • Pump out cost - every 5-10 years - a liquid waste removalist will need to be contracted to carry out the pump out and a service agent will be required onsite. A water carrier may be necessary to refill system to operating level. $900 approx.
  • Power to run pump and aerator - approx $300 per year
  • Pump and aerator will last on average 5 years each. Pump/aerator replacement and installation costs about $600, this will depend on the type and size of pump/aerator. Failure of the pump may cause the system to flood so regular maintenance is a must. $240 per year

Sand filter

What is a sand filter and how does it work?

Sand filter wastewater systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes making this an option for a variety of homes. The basic principle of a sand filter wastewater treatment system is using the bacteria living in the sand to passively clean the water. Depending on the brand of system, the water will either filter through the sand and then soak into the ground, similar to the process of absorption trenches. Alternatively the wastewater will filter through the sand then collect into a second tank to be pumped out and used for irrigation.

  • Benefits of a sand filter treatment system – save money on servicing (depending on the system) of between $70 and $320, minimal to no power usage.
  • Limitations of sand filter systems – options that don’t need servicing, like the sand filter system, are reliant on permeable soil, the separation from water table (although there are options around this). Sand filters can block up through improper use and can be one of the more costly to install.

Breakdown of sand filter wastewater treatment system running costs:

Gravity fed sand fitler system

  • A pump out of the tank is required every 5-10 years depending on the usage and size of the tank - approx $200 - $400 ($40 per year)
  • Servicing, if required, is generally between $170 and $250 per year

Pump fed sand filter system

  • Power consumption to run the pump is around $30 - $40 per year, depending on usage
  • Pumps will last, on average, 5 years. Pump replacement and installation costs can be around $600, this will depend on the type and size of pump - $120 per year
  • Servicing, if required, is generally between $170 and $250/year

Your local wastewater treatment specialists in SEQ

Get expert advice on finding the ideal wastewater treatment system for your home, contact Express Wastewater Solutions today at 1300 722 517. The first step is to book free consultation. We can conduct a soil test and work out what the best and most cost-effective system is for your property. Whether it’s a polymer or concrete system, absorption trenches or a treatment plant, we can take care of it all.


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For more in depth wastewater treatment information visit our Wastewater treatment Information page

Why Use Express Wastewater Solutions?


    Because we are not a manufacturer and not tied to one particular system we can always offer the best solution for your wastewater needs.


    Because we do this every day we have developed a close knit expert team for every step of the process – from plans and council paperwork to excavations, electrical and plumbing. We handle it all to make the whole process as stress free and quick as possible.


    Most people have never installed a home sewerage treatment plant and don’t know the next step, that is why we offer a free 30 minute phone consult with one of our experts to point you in the right direction.


    We handle your wastewater installation from start to finish we can deal with all the trades, council everything so you don’t have to worry about a thing.


    Have peace of mind knowing that Express are licensed, insured professionals that will do your job right the first time.


    Not sure what system is right for you, or want to know if your system is working properly? Just give one of our friendly wastewater experts a call and they will be more than happy to help.


    We will always look to repair your system rather than replace it if it does not need to be, which will generally save large amounts of money sometimes up to and over $10,000.