Household Sewage News

Onsite Wastewater and Your Council

When you install an onsite wastewater system to service your home, you need to get approval from your local council first. This is not just a case of you asking and them saying yes. There is a process that needs to be completed. You need to complete an Onsite Wastewater Management Application and provide the Council with the necessary information to gain approval.

First, you will need to engage a company such as True Water to complete an onsite Wastewater Report (WWR) for you. You need to submit this report as part of your Development Application when installing an onsite wastewater system. You may see them called Effluent Management Reports, OSSM Reports or OSSM Designs (Onsite Sewage Management). This report is a vital step when installing septic tanks, aerated wastewater treatment systems (AWTS) or secondary systems. Sometimes you will hear them called a Geotech Report but this can also mean a construction soil report.

A qualified consultant assesses many different aspects of your property and the surrounding environment. How you want to use your property, where you want to build infrastructure, and your personnel preferences, must all be taken into account. We use the information to design the most appropriate system for your home. This choice must be made according to ‘AS/NZS 1547:2012 On-site Domestic Wastewater Management’ and the Department of Local Government’s ‘Environment & Health Protection Guidelines: On-site Sewage Management for Single Households’ (the ‘Silver Book’).

The design must also comply with the individual Council’s Onsite Sewage and Wastewater Management Strategy. The requirements can vary across different local councils. True Water works closely with councils in Northern NSW to ensure the best outcome for each client.

Explore the council websites below to find out more about the requirements in your region.

BallinaShireCouncilLogo    Clarence-Valley-Council-Logo      Byron_Shire_Council_Logo


When will I need an Onsite Wastewater Report?

There are a number of situations where you would need to provide an onsite wastewater report to your council. The most obvious is when building a new house. It is also required if you’re updating or renovating an existing house. If you add an extra bedroom or build a granny flat, you will need to submit a report with your Development Application. Even if you don’t change your property but your old home sewage treatment system wears out, you will need to seek approval from your council to replace the system. Replacement systems are often a new technology or rated for a higher level of treatment to meet updated council and environmental regulations. The development of the report will help your consultant choose the right system for your needs. The council will need it to aid in deciding whether to approve its installation.



What’s in a Report

A wastewater report will include the assessment of many things. The number of bedrooms in your house is a guide to the number of possible occupants. The number of possible occupants is a big influencing factor. Environmental factors like soil type, property size, proximity to waterways, slope, aspect and even rainfall, are all measured.

Your report includes the type or level of treatment system required for the site. True Water’s consultants make the choice from a range of compact home sewage treatment systems that are specially designed for domestic installation. The type and size of disposal area or Land Application Area (LAA) is then calculated and designed. Treated water is dispersed to the environment within the disposal area. Methods include using subsurface irrigation, surface irrigation, ETA beds, trenches, reed beds/constructed wetlands, or via a Wisconsin mound.


Gaining Council Approval to Install your Home Onsite Wastewater System

Once you receive your report you need to submit it to your local council. You submit this as part of a larger Development Application when you are building a new home or completing renovations. The council needs to grant approval before any installation work begins. A good quality report is important to ensure a quick and smooth approval process.

Using an experienced and qualified installer like True Water is very important too. Our team installs your system exactly as stipulated on the council approval. A council officer will inspect the system after installation to confirm everything is okay.

With the system installed correctly, the council will then issue a Certificate to Operate to the homeowner. You then have permission to use your new system and have finished your process with the council. You, the homeowner, are responsible for its correct operation and maintenance, including professional servicing. Don’t forget to get your system serviced regularly to ensure years of trouble free service.

For more information or to arrange a onsite Wastewater Report for your Council, contact the team at True Water Australia.