On-Site - Sewerage


Councils On-Site Sewage Management Plan (PDF, 558KB)was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

The plan relates to domestic wastewater (non-commercial/industrial activities) for On-site Systems of Sewage Management (OSSM) treating up to 2000 litres per day.

OSSM are required in all non-sewered areas and include septics, aerated wastewater treatment systems, composting toilets, reedbeds, sand filters, biological filters, membrane reactors, greywater systems. These systems treat wastewater from a premise before being disposed of to an on-site land application area. Land application areas may include absorption/evaporation beds, subsurface irrigation or drip irrigation.

The plan provides information to applicants and the community about OSSM and what must be included in an application to install, modify or operate such a system.

OSSM that are not performing satisfactorily may lead to significant environmental and public health issues. As such the long term viability and satisfactory performance of the system is fundamental in minimising any potential adverse impacts.


The Local Government Act 1993 requires all OSSM to be inspected by Council and have an approval to operate to protect the environment from contamination originating from these systems. The Nambucca Valley is particularly vulnerable to sewage contamination as it has over 2,500 systems and an extensive network of waterways supporting a substantial oyster industry.

Council’s OSSM inspection program has been structured whereby the Valley has been divided into three risk based zones; with the approval to operate periods for OSSM in each zone being 1 year, 5 years and 10 years respectively. At the expiry of the approval to operate period Council reinspects the OSSM. If operating satisfactorily, a new approval to operate is issued to the land owner. If it is not operating satisfactorily, Council issues a notice requiring upgrade works to be undertaken to the OSSM

Fees for Council’s inspection of each OSSM are charged with annual rates notices. Annual fees are outlined in accordance with Council’s adopted ‘Fees and Charges’. Annual fees are portioned so that by the time an OSSM expires and a reinspection is required, the total inspection fee has been paid.

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet - How your septic tank works(PDF, 445KB)

Fact Sheet - Maintenance Hints for Septic Systems(PDF, 135KB)

Fact Sheet - Management of your Septic Systems(PDF, 1MB)