Onsite Wastewater Management Systems (Septic tank system)

Onsite wastewater management systems (OWMS) are installed to treat any onsite wastewater produced on your property. These systems are only installed in areas where reticulated sewer is not available.

Council is responsible for ensuring that wastewater management systems in Maroondah are installed and operating in accordance with the Code of Practice – Onsite Wastewater Management, prepared by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

View Council's Domestic Wastewater Strategy

New installations or alterations to existing systems

Property owners must apply for a Permit to Construct, Install or Alter a wastewater management system before commencing any works. It is the responsibility of the owner to submit an application form to Council for approval. A building Certificate of occupancy will not be granted without a Permit to construct, install or alter a domestic wastewater system, or before a Certificate for Use is issued.

When applying for a Permit to construct, install or alter you must provide Council with the following:

  • a completed application to construct/install/alter a septic tank system
  • details of the proposed use of the OWMS
  • detailed plans, specifications and particulars of the proposed construction, installation or alteration of the OWMS including the floor plan of the premises at which the activity specified in the application is to be engaged in
  • a detailed and scaled site plan showing:
    • all proposed and existing buildings, swimming pools, driveways, stormwater drains, dams and watercourses
    • location of proposed wastewater system and disposal area including setback distances to dwellings, boundaries, swimming pools and watercourses
  • a Land Capability Assessment prepared by a suitably qualified person to a standard acceptable to the council
  • system details including name of system and design of disposal area and a copy of the Certificate of Conformity issued by a body accredited under the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (or any other accreditation body approved by the Authority), confirming that the proposed on-site wastewater treatment plant meets the appropriate standard  or a copy of an exemption granted by the Authority under section 459 of the Act, stating that the applicant is exempted from the requirement to provide a certificate of conformity.  Where an exemption may apply, in the case of a Sandfilter treatment plant, an application to the EPA for an exemption is available on the EPA website.
  • payment of the prescribed fee.

Council's Environmental Health Officers will inspect the system during the installation process to ensure the wastewater system meets the permit conditions and EPA guidelines. A Certificate for Use will be issued to the owner once the final inspection has taken place with all works being approved.

Apply to construct, install or alter a septic tank system  

Types of wastewater systems

There are a number of different types of wastewater systems available including:

  • conventional septic tank
  • aerated wastewater treatment system
  • septic tank with sand filter
  • greywater treatment systems
  • worm farm systems.

The size of your land, soil type, slope and proximity to waterways will play a contributing factor in determining the most suitable system for your property. 

A land capability assessment must be conducted to ascertain the most appropriate system for the property.

Onsite Wastewater Management System maintenance

If your home has an onsite wastewater system, it is your responsibility to make sure it is well maintained and works effectively. A well-maintained system will safeguard your family's health, protect the environment and neighbouring properties.

Environment Protection Regulations require owners and occupiers of onsite wastewater system:

  • maintain the system in good working order
  • ensure those operating the system have the information they need to operate and maintain it effectively
  • respond to any system failures.

These obligations under the Regulations apply to all systems, including older systems that didn’t have a permit when they were installed.

Make sure:

  • you know the location and performance of your wastewater system
  • your septic tank is cleaned at least every three years
  • regularly (quarterly) service your treatment plant (if you have one)
  • effluent disposal area is protected from livestock and vehicles
  • fats, high nutrient detergents and sanitary products do not enter the system
  • water saving devices and water conservation measures are used where possible
  • if selling your property, that the new owners are provided with system details.

For the correct operating and maintenance of your system you need to refer to your system’s manufacturer recommendations and also the conditions on your septic permit.

For more information on maintaining your domestic wastewater system so that it continues to work effectively please see Onsite Waste Water Management System Maintenance.

For further information on the new Environment Protection Regulations 2021 and the Environment Protection Act 2017, including the General Environmental Duty (GED), please visit EPA’s website.

Is my dwelling’s wastewater connected to sewer?

If your property is located in an unsewered area it may be connected to a domestic wastewater (septic) system, which requires ongoing maintenance and care.

To find out information about the type of domestic wastewater system you may have, please contact Community Health by email communityhealth@maroondah.vic.gov.au or phone 92945603.

To find out whether you are connected to sewer, please contact Yarra Valley Water on 1300 853 811 or enquiry@yvw.com.au.

When will sewer become available to my area?

Yarra Valley Water have developed a Community Sewerage Program to prioritise areas that will become sewered. For information about your area in the Community Sewerage program, please contact Yarra Valley Water on 1300 853 811.

Connecting to sewer? Decommissioning domestic wastewater (septic tank) systems

If your property is connecting to reticulated sewer or you are replacing an old system, the septic tanks must be decommissioned. All works are to be carried out by a licensed plumber in accordance with EPA guidelines. The plumber will ensure the tanks are properly cleaned, disinfected and filled and pipes are permanently sealed. You will be required to submit a copy of the decommissioning certificate to Council.

Further information 

For advice prior to carrying out any alterations or modifications to existing systems or the installation of a new system, contact Council’s Environmental Health Officers on 9294 5603.