At home

Rural living

To maintain a healthy rural lifestyle, sewage and household waste must be properly managed, waterways protected, roads and other disturbed areas well constructed and maintained, and diversity of the natural habitat preserved.

Sewage waste

If not properly treated and managed, sewage causes nutrient and bacterial pollution of creeks, dams and groundwater, presenting a danger to human health and to aquatic habitats. Nutrient pollution contributes to algal blooms, oxygen depletion of water and kills fish.

  • Choose the right treatment system. The best system for your block will depend on soil type, slope, climate and closeness to creeks, rivers and groundwater systems.
  • Maintain your treatment system so that it continues operating efficiently.
  •  Don't overload it, otherwise it won’t treat sewage to an adequate standard.

Household wastes

Garbage buried on-site can pollute creeks, dams and groundwater with damaging nutrients and toxic chemicals (especially from household cleaning agents and gardening products).

  • Never dispose of garbage in gullies or waterways.
  • Compost organic waste.
  • Recycle paper, glass, metals and plastics whenever possible.
  • Dispose of all other wastes at properly managed landfills.

Clean waters

Protect sensitive areas such as creeks and rivers from residual pollution.

  • Maintain healthy vegetation near streams and rivers, to filter run-off and ensure stable banks.
  • Manage your water areas to prevent degradation from concentrated stock access. Fence off sensitive areas and provide stabilised access points, or water your stock elsewhere.
  • Site your dams below disturbed or high-activity areas to capture nutrients and sediment before it enters natural waterways.
  • Design your dams to filter pollutants and have shallow sediment traps. Encourage aquatic plants that will filter water and utilise nutrients.
  • Manage your stock to prevent overgrazing and consequent erosion.



Aspects of sustainable rural living including roads following land countours; septic tanks away from creeks; removal of rubbish from gullies; creek banks stabilised by trees and shrubs; stabilised stock access to creeks; revegetation areas fenced off from stock; water piped to stock

Unsealed roads can cause as much water pollution as active gullies, if not well constructed and maintained.

  • Plan and design roads to minimise disturbance and erosion.
  • Maintain your access roads and tracks.


Protect areas of high natural value, such as native vegetation, creeks, rivers and wetlands.

  • Plan the development and use of your site to minimise disturbance of native vegetation, fauna habitat, and permanent and non-permanent waterways.
  • Be aware of the harm that uncontrolled domestic animals (cats and dogs) cause to native flora and fauna.


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Page last updated: 10 December 2015