Many septic tank systems are starting to block up and discharges to stormwater drains are increasing. Soils are starting to clog because of chemical and microbiological changes as systems age. Tree roots are blocking pipes and drainage spaces and concrete components and metal reinforcing are corroding so in the worst cases septic tanks can collapse. Many of the earlier "high tech" solutions are not performing to expectations even if they were maintained and many have run into disrepair and illegally discharge "somewhere". Very few residents are willing to voluntarily upgrade their wastewater systems because they have heard about the expensive and disappointing experiences of other residents. Most of this problem appears to be being caused by there not being reliable education and decision making being available and a lack of reliable and affordable solutions to choose from. Are small unsewered towns going to continue to degrade with open stormwater drains continuing to stink, getting overgrown with weeds and potentially poisoning stock and local waterways out of town? Sustainability is made up of lots and lots of little things working in much smarter ways. If the right combinations of technologies modeled on natural processes in reliable ways then a whole new future for these communities might well open up and make them more socially, environmentally and financially more sustainable than "utility dependant" communities. It is not by any means simple and quite a challenge because it involves relooking at everything on a house block and gradually moving across to a new more sustainable layout that relies on better stormwater, vegetation, technology and financial management systems. There also needs to be better collaboration between neighbours and authorities on all these fronts. State support for solutions might improve if communities start to demonstrate an interest and take more responsibility for their environment. Once some reasonably reliable and affordable solutions can be found then rolling out education and enforcement programs will follow. In the past, new initiatives without proper evaluation and planning has sometimes been counter productive but now we are very close to having enough information to help residents proceed with confidence in transforming their house yards to a reasonable range of new solutions. This is going to be the basis on which these communities can rebuild their reputations, quality of life and more interesting communities ..... an exciting time!