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On Site Sewerage

Council approval must be gained prior to installing or carrying out any work on an on-site sewage management system.

This section refers to:
  • Installing a new on-site sewage management system
  • Upgrading or altering an existing on-site sewage management system.
Council approval must be gained prior to carrying out any work on an on-site sewage management system. If approval is related to a new building, approval to install an on-site sewage management system is usually required prior to gaining a construction certificate. There are a number of different treatment and disposal options; all require regular maintenance and operational knowledge by you as the owner. All wastewater from your premises needs to be treated and disposed of, this includes waste from toilets, showers, hand basins, laundry and kitchen.  

Which system suits you and your land?

To ensure the system you install is suitable for your site, Council requires the submission of a geotechnical report which outlines the suitability of the soil to accept effluent and recommends the size and location which will be required for the disposal of effluent. The report will also alert Council to any environmental factors that may restrict the disposal of effluent on-site such as proximity to waterways, high water tables, excessive slopes. Some sites may not be suitable for the disposal of effluent on-site and therefore a pump-out system may be the only alternative. These sites are generally small lots with clayey or sandy soil.  

Before installing a system, you will need to do the following:

1. Decide which treatment system and land application system you would prefer and suits the property you wish to install it on.

Consider such things as:
  •         Cost - installation and ongoing servicing or pump-outs; 
  •         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 reused 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. 

2. Arrange for a geotechnical report to be completed

A geotechnical report is not required for the installation of pump-out systems, as these systems do not dispose on-site. If you are upgrading an existing system, check with Council if a geotechnical report is required for your site. This report will detail soil characteristics and environmental constraints. The report will recommend the best type of system for the site and include calculations for the size of the disposal area. Talk to the geotechnical consultant and discuss your preferences. The most suitable system for the site may not suit you. The system you prefer may be possible but could require a specific design. There are a number of companies that can do these reports that are located between Orange and Bathurst.  

3. Submit to Council an application to install an on-site sewage management system

Along with the relevant fee. The application should include a copy of the geotechnical report (if required), details of the system to be installed, a site plan and information to allow Council to locate the property and to locate the proposed siting of the system. An application is required to be submitted and approved before a construction certificate is issued. The application is not usually required before the Development Application is approved however the geotechnical report may be requested to ensure effluent disposal can be obtained. Council will assess your application and an approval must be issued before installation. Approvals may contain conditions imposed by Council that must be complied with. Many of the conditions are site specific to ensure the system will operate correctly. 

4. Obtain a full quote for the system to be installed

Ensure that all tanks and treatment systems are accredited by NSW Health Department. Sand filters, mounds and reed beds are currently classified as disposal systems and do not require accreditation by NSW Health. The quote should include installation of the tank and the disposal system (e.g. trench, irrigation system). Give the installer a copy of Council's conditions so that drainage and earthworks can be included. 

5. Council Inspections will be required

If the system is being installed with a new dwelling, the building inspector will do a drainage inspection before the pipes are covered. Council's on-site sewage inspectors will do a final inspection of the system before the system is used to ensure all conditions have been complied with. Following this inspection, an Approval to Operate will be issued. 

6. Notify Council when the system is to be commissioned for use and submit an application for approval to operate.

Last modified: 19 Oct 2021