Domestic Wastewater Management

Under the Environment Protection Act 2017, a permit is required from Council prior to the installation or alteration of a septic system. Legal penalties apply if works are carried out without a permit.

The process consists of two stages:

  • Stage 1: Applying for a Permit to Install / Alter a Septic System. (This permit is required before a Building Permit can be issued.)

  • Stage 2: The Certificate to use a septic system. This certificate is required before a Building Certificate of Occupancy can be issued. It is also required for a septic system to legally be used.

Please note that Council can only issue permits for systems with a current Certificate of Conformance under the Australian Standard. The systems do not need to be listed on the EPA website.

We recommend obtaining the services of an authorised plumber to help you through the application process.

Permits and approvals

Before installing, altering or using any septic tank system, a permit must be obtained from Council. The system must be constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with Council guidelines, and various requirements and standards provided by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

If a Planning Permit is required, your Septic Tank Permit cannot be issued until the Planning Permit has been issued. Contact the Planning Department on (03) 5348 2306 with any inquiries.

Apply for a permit to install or alter a septic tank system

A Permit to Install or Alter a Septic System must be approved before any work begins. If you are also building, the septic permit is required before a building permit can be issued.

Because Hepburn Shire is a water catchment area, to apply for a permit to install or alter a septic system, you will be asked to provide a Land Capability Assessment (LCA).

A LCA involves tests and studies to determine how the land can be used, by looking at the land features, soil properties and potential impact on water catchments. The LCA will typically require you to install a specific type of system suited to the property, depending on the nature of the land and the size of the proposed dwelling.

Please fill out our online form for a permit to alter or install a septic system.

Apply to alter or install a septic system(PDF, 498KB)

You will need to supply the following as part of your application:

  • Completed and signed application form (the form MUST be signed by the property owner)
  • A detailed floor plan of the dwelling (if applicable)
  • A Site/Allotment Plan showing the items listed in the form, including distances to water sources and property boundaries. This plan must be completed by the plumber installing the system
  • Current copy of Title
  • A Land Capability Assessment (obtained as part of a Planning Permit, or separately)
  • Plans and specifications of the proposed system, (including the specific tank or treatment plant if relevant)
  • If an alteration, Council will also a plan detailing the existing system and dwelling, clearly differentiated from the proposed changes
  • Pay the required fee to install or alter. (If you apply online or submit the forms via email, Council will contact you for payment of the required fee to install or alter).

Site inspections

Do I need to have the work inspected?

Yes. The Environmental Health Officer inspects and approves all septic systems at various stages through the process. 

  • Site Inspection is required before a Permit to Install can be issued.
  • An Installation Inspection is required mid-installation and before back-filling so we can see that the septic tank and the effluent lines are installed correctly.
  • Final Inspection is required when the system is complete.

Please provide notice to Council’s Environmental Health Officers of at least three business days when planning your installation to ensure an Installation inspection can be scheduled before the effluent lines need to be closed. Contact the Environmental Health Department on (03) 5348 2306.

When can I use the system?

A Certificate to Use the septic tank system needs to be issued before you can use the system.  This permit also must be issued before a building Certificate of Occupancy can be issued for any related building works. 

Before a Certificate to Use can be issued please make sure you:

  • Provide a copy of the Plumbing Industry Compliance Certificate.
  • Provide an As Laid Site Plan showing the septic system exactly as installed.
  • Contact Council to request a Final Inspection from Council’s Environmental Health Officers.

You may also need to provide:

  • The manufacturer’s commissioning certificate (if a Treatment Plant was installed).
  • A signed servicing agreement (if a Treatment Plant was installed).
  • An electrical certificate (if a Pump Well was installed).

Extend a permit to install or alter

To extend an existing Permit to Install / Alter a Wastewater Management System, you will need to complete the Application to Renew/Amend the Permit and pay the applicable fee

Apply to extend your permit

Existing wastewater systems

Existing wastewater systems need various amounts of maintenance, depending on the type of system installed. Please note that Treatment Plants must be serviced quarterly and tested annually. All systems typically need to have the sludge cleared every three to five years.

Domestic Wastewater Management Plan

Council has a Domestic Wastewater Management Plan(PDF, 8MB) developed in conjunction with local water authorities and other stakeholders. The plan details how Council manages domestic wastewater within the municipality.

Local Law No. 3(PDF, 149KB) was introduced in October 2015 and covers the operation and management of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems.