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What is an On-site Sewage Management System?

On-site sewage management system refers to all kinds of septic systems, including traditional septic tanks, pump-outs, composting toilets and aerated septic systems. Basically if your home is not connected to the sewer you have some sort of on-site sewage management system in your back yard.

Council Responsibilities

  • Providing general services for the protection of the environment, public health and safety
  • Helping people keep their septic systems working well
  • Providing a scheme of systematic management for all of the septic systems in the Council area, including environmental monitoring and technical advice
  • Providing advice and contact information when people need professional services to design or maintain septic systems
  • Regulating the installation, operation and maintenance of septic systems, conducting audits and inspections
  • Keeping a register of systems in use in the council area and
  • Providing community information and education programs

Septic System Owners Responsibilities

  • Ensuring the house drains and tank don’t leak
  • Getting things fixed if they are not working properly
  • Keeping the system well maintained
  • Ensuring the system is checked regularly
  • Getting the tank pumped out when it becomes too full to process the flow going into it
  • Maintaining and protecting the absorption field
  • Complying with Council’s requirements for installation, maintenance service and operation and
  • Paying fees for inspections or maintenance.

Council Inspection
Council officers will be visiting all affected properties in order to conduct an inspection of on-site sewage management systems. Initially priority will be given to high risk systems.

Council will be looking at the on-site sewage management system to determine if it is functioning adequately. Council officers will also assess the system according to its likelihood to cause environmental or public health issues. The risk categories are high, medium and low.

High Risk Areas
These are highly vulnerable and sensitive environments like villages and areas close to drinking water sources, rivers and wetlands where the release of sewage pollution can cause a lot of harm. If classified as being in a high risk area, Council will arrange to have annual inspections made for safety and good practice.

Medium Risk Areas
These are vulnerable areas with a lower risk of water pollution because of factors like set backs, good soil and vegetation and lower housing density. If classified as being in a medium risk area, an inspection will be carried out every three years.

Low Risk Areas
These are areas where septic systems are located on good soil well away from waterways, drainage lines, homes and sensitive environments. If classified as being in a low risk area, Council will inspect every five years.

Why does each system require registration and approval?
NSW Government regulations require every on-site sewage management system to be registered with council. This is necessary so that Council can monitor and manage the overall impact of all of the septic systems in the drainage catchments.

The Council issues an Approval to Operate which sets out the basic rules needed to follow to keep the system working well. Failure to gain an Approval to Operate may result in Council issuing a penalty infringement notice.
A one off registration fee of $30 per system is applicable for each system. An inspection fee will be applicable for all inspections. This is $101.50 for the 2014/2015 year.

Check the Health of your Septic
Grey Water Diversion Systems must be registered with Council and be approved by the Department of Health NSW.

Self Check for a Septic System

  1. Identify your septic tank, pipe work and absorption area.
  2. Ensure that all pipes are connected to the septic tank.
  3. Ensure that no storm water can enter the septic tank or the absorption area.

If you notice

  1. Unpleasant Odours – Contact Plumber
  2. Gurgling sounds in Plumbing – Contact Plumber
  3. Sluggish Flow when Flushing Toilet – Contact Plumber
  4. Soggy or waterlogged Absorption Area – Contact Plumber

Do Not’s

  1. Do not plant trees or shrubs on absorption area.
  2. Do not allow vehicles to park or drive on absorption areas.
  3. Do not use strong detergents, bleaches or disinfectants around the home that will be sent to the septic system.

Do’s
Check your system every 6 months and if any issues are identified, contact a plumber or a council officer.

Self Check for an Aerated System

  1. Ensure that you have an industry licensed person contracted to inspect your tank and sprinkler system every 3 months.
  2. Ensure that your signs are adequate and are in good condition.
  3. Ensure that your sprinklers are working and that the area is not waterlogged.

If you notice

  1. Unpleasant odours – Contact Plumber
  2. Gurgling sounds in plumbing – Contact Plumber
  3. Sluggish flow when flushing toilet – Contact Plumber
  4. Soggy or waterlogged absorption area – Contact Plumber
  5. Sprinklers slow or not working - Contact Plumber

Do Not’s

  1. Do not allow vehicles to park or drive on absorption areas.
  2. Do not use strong detergents, bleaches or disinfectants around the home that will be sent to the septic system.

Do’s

  1. Check your system every 6 months and if any issues are identified contact a plumber or a council officer.
  2. Ensure that your contractor is licensed and is visiting your site every 3 months and submitting forms of the inspection to yourself and Council.

Remember working together we can have a good septic system that will not pollute any lands and will not cause issues for regulatory officers.


Contact Council
Please don’t hesitate to contact Council’s Technical Services Department on 6778 6314 with any questions.


Helpful Links
The following are some helpful links to additional information that may assist you.

Department of Local Government


Download documents

Application for Registration (pdf 40kb)

Uralla Shire On-Site Waste Water Management Strategy - 2011 (pdf 913kb)

On-Site Sewage Management Factsheet - September 2014 (pdf 156kb)