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Reminder to maintain wastewater systems
July 13, 2022

Wellington Shire Council is reminding landowners whose properties are not connected to reticulated sewerage, about requirements under law for maintaining their onsite wastewater management systems (OWMS).

The environmental laws include obligations to operate correctly and maintain the OWMS, commonly known as a septic tank system, and ensure it does not overflow.

Poorly installed or maintained OWMS, particularly older ones, can pose health and environmental risks, including polluted drinking water, land and waterway contamination, and offensive smells.

Under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Regulations 2021, property owners of land that use an OWMS to dispose of wastewater must do the following:

  • Ensure the system is maintained in good working order;
  • Have aerated wastewater treatment plants serviced by a service agent every three months in line with the manufacturer’s specifications;
  • De-sludge the OWMS at least once every three to five years dependent on system use and type;
  • Ensure the system does not pose a risk to human health or the environment;
  • Notify Council of any issues with the system and the steps taken to fix the problem (a form is available at;
  • Provide written information to renters about the correct operation and maintenance of the system;
  • Keep all records of maintenance activities carried out on the system, including any pump out and service records, for five years after each activity; and
  • Produce the records for inspection on request.  

For more information including a video on how to maintain a septic system, visit EPA Victoria's website at

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