Septic tanks

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.

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 form to Council with the applicable fee. Please allow for up to 42 business days for processing.
  2. A desktop 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
    • 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.

Submitting your application

A detailed plan must be submitted with the application form detailing the location of the house, type of system and effluent disposal area on the selected site. You will also need to submit an internal plan of your house if the application is for a new property.

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 required in the following circumstances

  • Allotment size is less than 5,000m²
  • 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:

  • EPA Code of Practice; Onsite Wastewater Management 891.3
  • Australian Plumbing and Drainage Code
  • Australian Standard No’s: 3500, 1547,1546