It is important for the health of the community and the environment that waste water is disposed of by the approved standards set out by the Environment Protection Authority.
If a property does not have reticulated sewerage connection, this means the installation and maintenance of an approved onsite wastewater management system (OWMS) is required.
Under the Environment Protection Regulations 2021, Wellington Shire Council provides permits to:
The system you install must be approved by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). A full list of approved systems is available on the EPA website.
The EPA Code of Practice – Onsite Wastewater Management provides standards and guidance to ensure the management of onsite wastewater (up to 5000 L/day) protects public health and the environment, and uses our resources efficiently.
Before installing or altering any part of an OWMS, the owner must have completed a 2021/22 Application to Install or Alter an Onsite Wastewater Management System (OWMS) Form. A Permit to Install/Alter must be issued for works to commence.
Permit application forms should be fully completed, signed and returned to council with:
We will reply with confirmation of any further requirements regarding your OWMS installation once your application is received. When all legislative components of your installation process are complete and an onsite inspection has been conducted, a permit to use your OWMS will be issued.
Note: The installation of the OWMS must be completed within 2 years of the date of issue of the permit to install/alter.
The Environment Protection Act 2017 (EP Act) creates a General Environmental Duty that applies to all Victorians. If you own or use an OWMS, including septic tank systems and secondary treatment systems, the GED applies to you. It also applies to how you construct, install, alter, operate and maintain the system, deal with faults or system failures and manage your waste.
For larger systems serving multiple tenements, shops, hotels, motels, restaurants and commercial or industrial premises, additional permits or works approvals and licenses from planning authorities may be required under the Environment Protection Act 2017 from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
Applications for permits to install an OWMS must be accompanied by a floor plan of the building or dwelling, along with a detailed site plan and a to-scale plan of the proposed OWMS. An initial inspection of the site will then be held by the Environmental Health Officer accompanied by the owner or owner's representative and plumber in order to confirm the most appropriate system to be installed.
A permit to install will then be issued, and any subsequent changes required after this time will need to be submitted in writing and may incur an additional inspection fee and a $69.00 reissue of permit fee. A second/final inspection by the Environmental Health Officer will take place after your OWMS has been installed but prior to the tank and effluent disposal system being backfilled and covered.
Note: Plumbers and drainers are advised that prior to notification to the Environmental Health Officer for the final inspection, the plumber/drainer responsible for the installation shall ensure that all works are in accordance with the approved plans and specifications and permit to install. A Compliance Certificate which has been lodged by the plumber/installer with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) must be submitted to Council before an approval to use can be issued.
To request a copy of OWMS plans, please complete the form available on the link below. The current fee for the application is $69.00 inc GST. Application will not be considered complete until the fee is paid.
Basic requirements for OWMS installation are detailed below:
Under Section 132 of the Victorian Building Regulations 2008, a building permit for works in an unsewered area requires the Report and Consent of the relevant Council or a relevant OWMS Permit to Install.
This consent can be obtained by lodging the Application for Report and Consent for Works in an Non-Sewered Area with the appropriate plans and application fee. The Report and Consent need not be obtained if a permit to install or alter an OWMS in relation to that building application has been issued by Council for the works.
This information advises you on how to care for and maintain the OWMS so that you obtain the maximum life out of it. Inappropriate use and failing to maintain the system can result in costly repairs.
Buildings, driveways, concrete slabs, tennis courts, swimming pools, garden beds, vegetable gardens, large trees, etc. must not be placed in or on effluent disposal areas or over tank. Generally bushes, shrubs and trees should not be permitted to grow directly over effluent disposal areas or sand filters in case the systems need to be dug up or for maintenance.
Ensure plants and grasses used near distribution fields are suited to the area and will not cause root obstructions or too much shade that can affect effluent evaporation.
The EPA provides further information on How to manage your own sewerage system.
When existing premises are connected to a reticulated sewer system or a new OWMS is installed, all redundant OWMS are to be decommissioned using the procedure detailed below. This is to ensure that the redundant tank(s) do not cause any future public health or environmental problems.
Decommissioning should be done within 90 days of connecting to mains sewerage or a new system.
Please complete the below form to provide evidence of decommission of an onsite wastewater management system (OWMS) and return to Wellington Shire Council.
Before you purchase a parcel of land, you need to conduct several checks with relevant authorities to verify if the land can be built on.
A Section 32 statement is a document that is provided by the vendor to the potential buyer/s. The Section 32 is usually prepared by a lawyer and contains information that is relevant to the property such as covenants, easements and any other restrictions on the title. It also can contain planning information, particularly where land use can be restricted due to the zoning of the land.
You also need to check that there are no other water catchment conditions that could prevent you from building on the parcel of land, particularly in rural areas.
Make sure you contact the following people to check if there are any catchment conditions on the land:
A water corporation's role is to protect the catchment conditions and to make sure that building/development will not adversely affect water quality.
Water corporations have powers which are set out in section 55 of the Planning and Environment Act, 1987.
These powers allow Water Corporations to:
Any conditions imposed on a proposal are based around the protection of water quality and the health of the catchment
A Catchment Management Authorities (CMA) role differs from that of the Water Corporation's. Catchment Management Authorities (CMA) prepare regional catchment strategies and special area plans that address the importance of conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use of the land and water resource (i.e. floodplain management).
This information may assist you if Council have asked you to provide a Land Capability Assessment to support your proposal for a subdivision or installation of an onsite domestic wastewater management system.
Land Capability Assessments (LCA) are evaluations undertaken by a private consultant to determine the ability of your lot or subdivision to sustainably and safely dispose of wastewater. An LCA is specific to each application. It seeks to identify the constraints presented by each lot, and provide a management strategy to overcome any issues. If it is possible LCAs are a means of supporting your application to Council to install or alter an onsite domestic wastewater system. If your lot is incapable of supporting wastewater disposal in a manner that is sustainable and safe, the LCA will state this. However, there is usually a viable solution to wastewater management for most properties and the land capability assessor should evaluate all wastewater options available to assist you.
LCAs are documents written for a specific application at a particular time. Generally, LCAs will not be relevant to an application other than the one it was written to support. If you have an LCA undertake on your property, the current circumstances on you block may not remain the same and may not have been adequately assessed. Therefore, you may require a new LCA. Sometimes it is possible for you land capability assessor to amend or adjust an existing LCA. In order to determine what you will require, consult your Environmental Health Officer (EHO).
You may require an LCA when:
Consult Council's Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to determine whether you will require a Land Capability Assessment (LCA) for your proposal.
LCAs are specific to individual proposals and can vary in what they contain. Nonetheless, all LCAs must provide sufficient details of all aspects of the risk assessment, along with a comprehensive rationale for all proposed management strategies. The following is a general guide of what you might expect to be included in a LCA.
The assessor must have suitable professional training and experience. Personnel undertaking or supervising data gathering and assessment should have a relevant and acceptable tertiary-level scientific qualification from a reputable training institution in a discipline such as civil or geotechnical engineering, soil science, agricultural science, environmental science, chemistry or physical geography. The qualifications should include specific knowledge of soil, soil hydrological and soil chemical processes.
There is however no licencing scheme currently in place for land capability assessors, so be sure to do your research and seek some local advice. You might also like to take a look in the telephone directory or conduct an online search for environmental consultants or surveyors.
Land Capability Assessments often require the completion of soil tests, site assessments and consultations between the land owner and the assessor. The development of an LCA is a lengthy process and in some circumstances, can take months to complete. If you have a strict timeline to maintain be sure to keep this in mind.
This report must be completed by a licensed plumber or drainer. Please note that if the plumber/drainer identifies any issues that may impact on the operation of the system, Council’s Environmental Health Office will investigate the issue and may require the owner to carry out works to ensure compliance.
Wastewater from your home contains sewage from your toilet and grey water from your bathroom, kitchen and laundry. Wastewater contains human disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Diseases can be transmitted to humans from wastewater if appropriate measures are not taken. The safe disposal of wastewater is therefore essential to protect your health and the health of others. Ensure children and pets are kept away from wastewater.
If you require support, please contact Council’s Relief Information Line on 1300 137 218 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.