Application to install onsite sewage management

An approval from Council is required to install, alter and to operate a On-Site Sewage Management System (OSSMs) under the provisions of Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. Approval can be sought by lodging a completed Application for S68 Approval - On-site Sewage Management System Form with Council. 

Under the provisions of Clauses 40 and 41, Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 Council must not approve of the installation of certain sewage management facilities unless they have been accredited by the  NSW Ministry of Health.

The types of sewage management facilities to which accreditation applies include septic tanks, collection wells, aerated wastewater treatment systems, greywater treatment systems and composting toilets and which are available for purchase by retail.  A full list is detailed in Clause 40 of the above regulation and only includes sewage management facilities which treat sewage of a domestic nature from premises occupied by a maximum of 10 persons or where the average daily flow of sewage is less than 2000 litres.

Systems that exceed or have a potential to exceed these criteria need to be specifically designed for each use/site.

Accreditation does not apply to the drains which are connected to the facility nor to any land application system.  Similarly, accreditation does not apply to models under test or if the facility is specifically designed for a particular premises.

Further information about what facilities require accreditation can be obtained from the NSW Ministry of Health.

Installing a new OSSMS

For systems proposed to be installed with a new building, the Development Application for the building is required to contain an overview of the type of OSSMS that is planned to be installed and where the system (including the disposal area) will be located.

An Approval to Install is required prior to the issuing of a Complying Development Certificate or Construction Certificate.

In determining the most appropriate system for any site the following should be considered:

  • Cost – installation, ongoing servicing, pump-outs and inspections
  • Ability to maintain the system – most systems require the land application area to be regularly maintained (grass mowed or vegetation pruned)
  • Permanent or holiday use
  • Water re-use – some systems allow treated effluent to be re-used on gardens or lawns
  • Site constraints – soil type, soil depth, slope, exposure to sun and prevailing winds
  • Buffer distances – the land application area must be certain distances away from things like waterways, buildings and swimming pools
  • OSSM Easy Guide - for information

Approval to operate an OSSMS

When an OSSMS has been installed and after a Final Inspection has disclosed that the system has been completed in accordance with the proposed plan, specifications and conditions of approval, the Application for Approval to Operate a System of Sewage Management System will be issued by Council’s Officers.

Decommissioning and removal of OSSMS

Information guidelines / notes for the destruction, removal or reuse of septic tanks, collection wells, aerated wastewater treatment systems and other sewage management facilities can be found on the NSW Health website