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Environment Technology AES Newsletter April 2015
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Running total of AES systems installed in NZ = 50

Happy Autumn – we hope you have had a good Easter break. Two of our team – Dick Lamb and Hazel Clemens have just returned from the NZ Land Treatment Collective’s annual conference in Wanaka discussing the theme 'Seasonal Impacts of Wastewater Management'. We were pleased to discuss that standard AES installations offered a solution to rapidly varying influent volume with documented evidence of quick start-up after periods of non-use. A recent design for a Marae installation which has large intermittent usage is incorporating increased tankage volumes in conjunction with the inherent buffering capacity of AES pipes.

New approvals and installations in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) understand the advantages of the passively obtained advanced secondary results from Advanced Enviro-Septic (AES) systems. A small system was installed late February at a DOC toilet at Mount Nimrod, Canterbury.

In the North Island, Aquaholics from Bay of Plenty have been awarded the Design and Build contract to upgrade the wastewater systems for seven Kaipawa DOC houses near Lake Waikaremoana using AES. MWH in Napier in conjunction with Aquaholics have designed the upgrade.
AES wastewater system DOC Mt Nimrod
Vent Depths

Keep in mind that 150mm above ground is the minimum at which a low vent should be installed. If vegetation is likely to run rampant, you should install the low vent higher and the high vent correspondingly higher to maintain the 3m vertical separation. The possibility of snow covering the vent should also considered for southern and high altitude installations.

Digitally Signed Calculators

For more efficient AES Design peer review approvals it would be helpful for us if the completed AES calculators were submitted as a separate .pdf or .xls file from the actual system designs report. This way, uploading of just the calculator for digital signing is much easier.

Also you should note that digital signatures may not appear if you are just using a .pdf Reader programme. The document has to be opened in Adobe Acrobat or a similar .pdf editing program to see the digital signature.

Out & About

The Environment Technology team have been out on the road this month: Project Manager Dick Lamb visited the Kapiti Sustainable Home & Garden Show before joining Hazel Clemens in Wanaka for the NZ Land Treatment Collective conference. Co-director Hazel Pearson attended the South Island Agricultural Field Days in Kirwee while Siân Clement manned the office, got married and became Siân Jones.

Send us your photos

We love to see photos from your installations. Don’t hesitate to send these to us. We will try to include these in on-going newsletters.

AES Pipe Spacing
Thanks to Shane Fleming,
Abel Tasman Plumbing & Gas
for this cool idea
to get the spacing right
between rows: using 150mm pipe.

Our expert here says that’s great for getting the pipe spacing size right but it’s even better to have something that holds the pipes in place while you backfill. When you get a wet day it is very worthwhile to whip up something like this on the left. Larger versions are also used but this size is adaptable to all installations. Eight or so are a good number – they can be shifted down the pipe rows as the backfilling proceeds from one end of the bed.

staples for AES pipe positioning AES pipe spacing
Test your own Sand Samples

If you would like to undertake your own testing instead of sending sand samples to us, Spec-check kits can be purchased from Environment Technology at a cost of $300 plus gst
sand sample testing kit


Every year natural disasters wreak havoc in communities throughout Australia and New Zealand. This was the case recently when Cyclone Marcia hit the small community of Byfield on the central Queensland Coast.

It is very common for sewage to discharge into flooded waterways due to loss of electricity, sometimes for several days. The cost to fix a sewage treatment system after it has been without electricity for even just 24 hours can also be substantial. This is not only a problem for residential owners of treatment plants. Commercial operators and business owners can also suffer major interruption to their operations when their wastewater treatment plant loses power. The Mount Morgan Caravan Park, for example, lost power for more than 7 days. Residents could not leave but simply had to keep using the facilities.

Regulators, designers, businesses and homeowners are beginning to realise that such severe weather events should be given greater consideration when choosing a wastewater treatment option for their schools, community centres, businesses and homes. Passive septic treatment options such as Advanced Enviro-Septic have a huge advantage in this area, simply because they do not require electrical, mechanical or chemical treatment in order to safely treat raw sewage.

The adoption of passive treatment is an important new industry trend that provides community health and environmental protection to the highest level with the ability to rejuvenate and re-establish safe natural treatment without expensive maintenance intervention.

* * *

Also in Australia this month, an AES System that has been installed for 3 years and 9 months was excavated to allow an extension of the system to accommodate a granny flat. It was the first opportunity for our Ozzie counterparts, Chankar Environmental, to closely inspect an operational system and understand how simple the process is to extend the AES bed. Bradley Lucas, the AES certified plumber engaged to install the extension, could not believe how simple the process was or how clean the sand surrounding the AES pipes was after more than 3 years of operation.

Bradley said connecting to the existing system was much easier than he expected. In fact the sand in the existing system was as clean as the day it was put in over 3 years ago.

extending an AES systemextending an AES system

* * *

The following item from the US is interesting as it outlines the importance of onsite wastewater treatment systems recharging depleted aquifers and which are gaining in popularity worldwide as water resources become increasingly important:

NOWRA Testifies on Capitol Hill – National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
NOWRA Past President Tom Fritts testified on NOWRA's behalf before Congress on March 18. He spoke in support of greater funding and more Environmental Protection Agency staff support for the onsite industry. His testimony was before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee which determines EPA's budget. Watch a YouTube version of his testimony here. Read the written testimony (more detailed) here.

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