Many small townships and rural areas do not have access to reticulated sewer. They then have to rely on domestic on-site wastewater treatment systems. If poorly managed these systems can be a public health or environmental risk. Local Government has the primary responsibility for the management and regulation of domestic on-site systems.
In areas where reticulated sewerage is not available a septic tank must be installed in accordance with the EPA code of practice.
Council can only issue a permit if the system has been approved by the EPA. A permit will not be issued if the site is too small or not suitable.
It is the owner’s responsibility to apply for a permit to install/alter a septic tank.
A fee is payable for a permit to install/alter a septic tank system. Contact Council's Heath Office for futher information.
Domestic Wastewater Management Plan
Local governments throughout Victoria are required to prepare a Municipal Domestic Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) to address potential risks to public health and the environment that result from treatment and disposal of wastewater from homes and businesses in unsewered areas. The development of a DWMP is consistent with Government policy direction, including the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) that requires councils to develop such plans.
Improved domestic wastewater management is an important issue for Gannawarra Shire. While some residential areas have been sewered, a number of small towns and areas surrounding sewered towns rely on septic tank systems. The exact number of septic systems in the Shire is unknown but is thought to total between 2,000 and 2,500. There are significant pressures on the land in terms of development in high-amenity areas near lakes and the Murray River.
Gannawarra Shire received funding assistance from the Department of Sustainability and Environment to prepare this DWMP and a consultant team was engaged. The team comprised personnel from RM Consulting Group and the Department of Primary Industry.
Development of this DWMP provided an opportunity for the Shire to strategically assess the wastewater issues within the municipality and develop appropriate strategies and actions to prevent wastewater problems, or minimise the resultant impacts. It clearly articulates Gannawarra’s policy on domestic wastewater and its management.