Council’s Environmental Health Unit is responsible for ensuring that the installation and alteration of onsite wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks) throughout the Shire is done in accordance with the current Environment Protection Authority (EPA) code of practice.
It is important that these systems do not pose a threat to the environment or become a risk to public health.
If you live on a property that is not connected to reticulated sewerage, you will either have a standard septic tank or an onsite wastewater treatment system on your property.
The Environmental Protection Act 1970 defines a “septic tank system” as a system for the bacterial, biological chemical or physical treatment of sewage and includes all tank, beds, sewers, drains, pipes fittings, appliances and land used with the system. A septic tank system treats and retains sewage (toilet water) and sullage (bath, shower and sink water etc.) within the boundaries of your property.
The Environmental Protection Act 1970 requires that all systems for the treatment and disposal of wastewater from domestic and commercial generating less than 5000 litres per day must be approved by Council prior to installation.
Click on the links to skip to a section.
- Application Process
- Approval Process
- Maintaining your System
- Moorabool Shire's Domestic Wastewater Management Plan
Applications must be made to Council's Environmental Health Unit for permission to install or alter septic tanks or other domestic wastewater treatment systems. The Building Code requires that a permit to install a septic tank system be obtained prior to a building permit being issued.
Contact Council’s Planning Department to determine whether a planning permit is required for the proposed development. A septic tank permit cannot be issued until the planning permit is issued unless under unusual circumstances.
Contact either your relevant Water Authority if applicable (Central Highlands Water, Barwon Water, Western Water, Goulburn Murray Water or Southern Rural Water) to find out if further conditions apply.
Submit the application form (PDF, 205 KB) and pay any relevant fees. Along with the application form you must also submit the following:
A Site Plan (scale not less than 1:500) showing:
- The location of the premises including the street number or lot number.
- The dimensions of all boundaries and the location of all other streets and laneways which abut the property (show names if applicable).
- The locations and dimensions of all existing or proposed buildings, streams, dams, bores, water tanks, swimming pools, excavations, driveways, stormwater drains, water pipes, underground power/telephone cables, gas pipes or other services.
- The location of the proposed septic tank system.
- An indication of North.
- The fall of the land in the vicinity of the effluent disposal area:
- A house/building plan.
- A detailed plan and section (scale not less than 1:50) of all parts of the proposed septic tank system showing dimensions and grades and the layout of the wastewater disposal area.
- Specifications describing materials to be used in the construction and where required by the Council’s Authorised Officer, other additional information necessary to show that the septic tank system will, if constructed in accordance with such specifications, comply with the provisions of these Regulations.
Submit your “Permit to Install” to either your plumber or builder.
A Land Capability Assessment (LCA) needs to be submitted as part of the application process. An LCA is a written report that assesses the various aspects of a site and determines the capability of the land to sustain a wastewater system. You can contact a Land Capability Assessor (DOCX, 27.08 KB) but note that Council does not actively recommend or endorse any of the consultants listed.
Council will be assessing LCAs received using both the EPA Code of Practice and the recently released Victorian Land Capability Assessment Framework (VLCA) – 2nd Edition January 2014. (PDF, 1.14 MB)
Council’s Environmental Health Unit recommends you ensure your LCA meets the requirements of these documents and taking this approach to ensure consistency in the quality of LCAs received.
No installation work should be conducted without the “Permit to Install”. Before works begin the owner or the plumber should contact Council’s Environmental Health Unit to request a progress inspection at least 24 hours prior.
A final inspection will be completed upon receipt of the following:
- Plumber’s compliance certificate.
- The as laid plan (a site plan showing the location of the septic system as installed).
- The manufacturer’s commissioning certificate.
- Signed servicing agreement.
Once Council’s Environmental Health Unit receives and approves this document, you will be issued with a “Permit to Use” the septic tank system.
Note: A Building Surveyor cannot issue an “occupancy certificate” until Council issues your “Permit to Use”.
Maintaining your Onsite Wastewater Management System
Responsibility for managing septic tank systems lies with the property owner. A properly managed septic tank system will assist in prolonging the life of the system and prevent it from premature failure resulting in a public health risk to the occupants and surrounding environment.
As a preventative ongoing maintenance measure, and to increase the life of the system, it is important that the septic tank be desludged once at least every three years. Failure to do so may cause failure of the system and be very costly to repair. Servicing your AWTS is essential to ensure that the system is working correctly and to also protect public and environmental health as both are put at risk when systems fail. All treatment plants must be serviced by a qualified person every 3 months in accordance with the Certificate of Approval of the system.
One area of the system that can be overlooked at times is the actual effluent discharge field. This area should be looked at during every service with the effluent lines being flushed to ensure that they are wokring correctly. Failure to do this can lead to system failures which can involve not only effluent pooling on the ground but also costly pump failures.
Council follows up all owners or occupiers that are not having thier systems serviced quarterly and sending the reports to Council. Under section 53N Environmental Protection Act 1970 failure to comply with the permit conditions for your system is an on the spot fine of $806, or a maximum fine of 10 penalty units (currently over $1600). A list of service providers can be downloaded here and here is an example of a service report that shows all the areas that need attention during a service. If you have any queries your service agent would be happy to run through their process with you.
The system must not be altered or modified, except with the approval of the Council. An Application to install or alter a septic tank (PDF, 205 KB) must be obtained from Council before making any alterations to the system.
|Permit to Install||$1295.00|
|Permit to Alter||$610.00|
|Extention to current permit||$355.00|
|Grey Water Permit||$430.00|
|Additional inspection request||$200.00|
|Septic information request||$133.00|
|Copies of documents||$80.00|
Domestic Wastewater Management Plan
Councils Domestic Wastewater management Plan, plan adopted in 2014, allows for better development of houses in regional areas where waterways may otherwise have excessively restricted growth.
Moorabool Shire Council Audit report completed in December 2017. This document presents the findings resulting from the audit of the Council’s Domestic Wastewater Management Plan 2014 (“the DWMP”).