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Have your say on EPA’s draft onsite wastewater management systems (OWMS) guidelines
July 31, 2023

Councils have an important and longstanding role in regulating onsite wastewater management systems (such as septic tanks). The Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Regulations 2021 provide councils with a range of powers and tools to support OWMS regulation.  

The laws relating to OWMS that council can enforce include:

  • A permit requirement from council to construct, install or alter an OWMS
  • Requirements for the operation and maintenance of OWMS for owners and occupiers
  • General environmental duty (through functions and powers that EPA delegates to councils).

We invite your feedback on two draft guidelines that have been developed to help council officers in Victoria understand and enforce relevant laws under the Act and Regulations:

  • Draft Guideline for onsite wastewater management (GOWM)
  • Draft Guideline for onsite wastewater effluent dispersal and recycling systems (EDRS Guideline).

Together these guidelines are an update of EPA’s Code of Practice (publication 891.4) which was last updated in 2016.

Neither guideline sets out mandatory requirements. They give information on risk-based approaches to minimise the risk of harm to human health and the environment from onsite wastewater.

Proposed changes aim to:

  • Reflect significant advances in onsite wastewater management since 2016
  • Provide information to enable a consistent assessment approach for co-regulators to administer the A20 permit for OWMS and/or planning permit applications that include an OWMS.

How to comment and provide feedback

To view the draft guidelines and other material, visit Engage Victoria. Have your say and make a submission by Tuesday 8 August 2023.

The scope of this project relates to the draft guidelines and is not a review of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021.

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