Wednesday, 4 October 2023
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Wastewater Treatment and Disposal

If you’re not connected to the sewer you need a wastewater treatment system. Wastewater disposal systems treat sewage and greywater in your backyard.

The systems are installed in the ground and use bacteria to treat solids, grease and fats which come from the toilet, bathroom, kitchen and laundry.

Your Wastewater Disposal Systems do not purify sewage. They reduce the volume of solids and prepare sewage for disposal.

If you are installing or making any alterations to a septic tank system you must first apply to Council for a permit.

Application process

1. Complete and return the application below to Council. Include all relevant documentation and required fee

If you already have a permit which is approaching it’s expiry (2 years from the date of issue), or you need to make changes to the permit, please complete the application below so a new permit can be issued

2. Desk top assessment and an initial site Inspection will be completed by an Environmental Health Officer. This process must be repeated if there are changes to the details of the proposed system.
3. If the proposal is accepted a Permit to Install or Alter a Septic Tank System will be issued.
No work should commence until this is received.
4. Your licensed plumber/drainer must notify Council of the septic tanks completion.
Your licensed plumber and drainer must forward the following to Council:

  • a completed Plumbers Final Approval Checklist [Plumbers Final Approval Checklist document to be added]
  • a constructed plan of the septic tank system (if slightly differs from proposed plan)
  • a copy of the Plumbing Industry Commission (PIC) Certificate
  • a copy of a Commissioning Certificate (for treatment plants only)
5. Your licensed plumber and drainer should notify Council of the septic tanks completion.
6. A final inspection of the septic tank system will be conducted by an Environmental Health Officer to ensure it complies with permit conditions.
7. If the septic tank system is installed correctly, an Approval to Use will be issued by Council.
Please note: The approval to use must be issued before expiry of the Permit to Install (2 years).
The system should NOT be used until approval is received.

Type of System

A full description of the onsite waste water system proposed to be installed must be included within the application form which requests all information required by Public Health Services.

A detailed plan must be submitted with the application form detailing the location of the House, Septic Tank and Effluent disposal area on the selected site. You may use the graph paper include in the application form or submit the plan on alternative paper providing all features of the system is clearly illustrated.

The EHO conducts site inspections to assess the site for the proposed system. If you wish to meet the Environmental Health Officer onsite, an appointment must be arranged.

Treatment Plants

Treatment Plants may dispose to standard trenches but normally dispose to either Surface or Sub-Surface irrigation beds. In brief, Surface irrigation beds must be raised above ground level and both Surface and Sub-Surface must be constructed of good loamy topsoil. Furthermore, it is advisable to create two or more beds to enable rotation and resting of the beds.

A Commissioning Certificate for a Treatment Plant system must be submitted to Council upon completion of the installation, this is additional to the PIC Compliance Certificate.


Owners of a Septic Tank System must comply with the relevant EPA certificates of approval and maintain their systems in good working order, including;

  • Inspecting the System annually
  • de-sludge the tank at least once every 3 years
  • Restricting stock animals or heavy vehicles from traveling over the effluent disposal/ irrigation area.

Land Capability Assessments

Prior to completion of the application the applicant must consult with Council’s Environmental Health Officers to check if a Land Capability Assessment (LCA) is required. A Land Capability Assessment is to be conducted by an accredited practitioner in accordance with EPA Publication 746. The reasons for undertaking an LCA for the onsite management of wastewater are to:

  • Identify the capability of land areas for sustainable onsite wastewater management
  • Develop a management regime for onsite wastewater systems, to minimise their environmental impacts and enhance their long term sustainability.

A Land Capability Assessment is usually required in the following circumstances

  • Allotment size is less than 10,000m² (1 Hectare)
  • Allotment is in a flood prone area
  • Multi lot subdivision
  • Allotment has poor soil absorption
  • Replacement of a failing septic tank system

Installation Conditions

Ensure that the Conditions of Installation that apply to the Permit to Install are reviewed as they can differ between Septic Tank Systems. All work is to be carried out and certified by a licensed plumber, this includes any surface or sub-surface irrigation area for Treatment Plant Systems. Sub-surface and surface irrigation must be contained on the Plumbing Certificate, otherwise the Approval to Use will not be issued. All work is to be carried out in accordance with:

  • Code of Practice; Onsite Wastewater Management 891.3
  • Australian Plumbing and Drainage Code
  • Australian Standard No’s: 3500, 1547,1546
For more information or to arrange an inspection:
Public Health Services
Phone: (03) 5036 2591

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