On-site Waste Management
If you are proposing to build on land that cannot be connected to Council’s reticulated sewerage system, then it will be necessary for you install an on-site sewage management system. This is likely to be the case if you are building outside of the Cowra Township in a rural area or in one of the Shire’s villages.
An on-site sewage management system is a general term used to describe a device used to treat domestic sewage and may include a septic tank, an aerated waste treatment system or composting system for example. The end product, which is referred to as effluent, is then gravity-fed or pumped to an effluent disposal area. In some cases, the effluent disposal area is absorbed into the land, irrigated onto the land, or directed to a holding well and collected later by a tanker.
In NSW, on-site sewage management systems must be designed, operated and maintained in a manner that will:
- Prevent public health risk.
- Prevent environmental damage (particularly to land, soil, groundwater and surface waters); and
- Protect community amenity (e.g. odours).
It is also important that an on-site sewage management system is designed, installed and operated so that it works well into the future.
To find out more about on-site sewage management systems and the requirements for your next building project, explore the FAQ’s below.
On-site Sewage Management Systems FAQ’s
If you have an existing system that is not approved, then you must submit an Application for Approval to Operate an Existing On-site Sewage Management System.
If you have an existing system that is not currently registered with Council, you must submit an Application to Register an Existing On-site Sewage Management System. By lodging this application, you are granted interim approval to operate the system until such time as Council inspects the system. If the system is not satisfactory, you will be advised what needs to be done to gain approval and operate.
Modifying an existing system
If you are proposed to alter an existing system, an approval must be obtained from Council by submitting an Application to Modify an On-site Sewage Management System.
If you are installing a new system, an approval must be obtained from Council by submitting an Application for new On-site Sewage Management System. This application must be submitted to Council prior to commissioning or moving into your new home. The installation must be inspected by Council before you can occupy your house to ensure that it has been installed correctly.
Council’s 2020/2021 Revenue Policy sets the following application fees:
- Install and operate a new system - $266
- Modify an existing system - $56
- Approval to operate an existing system - $56
- Register an existing approved system - $56
- Inspection fee to verify compliance of existing system - $169
Council does not require specific types of on-site sewage management systems to be installed.
The type of system that is suitable for your property will depend on a number of factors. Site characteristics including soil type, soil depth, slope, proximity to water and water balance will determine the most appropriate type of on-site sewage management system for your land.
For this reason, Council recommends you to engage the services of a qualified Geotechnical Engineer to investigate the site characteristics and recommend the most appropriate type of on-site sewage management system for your land. The Geotechnical Report will form part of your application to Council.
The following information must be submitted to Council with your application
Your application must be accompanied by a plan, drawn to scale, showing the location of:
- The sewage management facility
- Any related effluent application areas
- Any existing or proposed buildings on the land
- Any environmentally sensitive areas within 100 metres of the sewage management facility.
- Any related drainage lines or pipework (whether natural or constructed).
Your application must be accompanied by full specifications of the sewage management facility proposed to be installed or constructed on the premise concerned. This information can usually be obtained from the manufacturer or supplier of the chosen system.
Your application must be accompanied by details of the climate, geology, hydrogeology, topography, soil composition and vegetation of any effluent application areas, together with an assessment of the site in light of those details.
Council recommends that you engage the services of a qualified Geotechnical Engineer to prepare a suitable site assessment report. A search in the yellow pages for ‘Geotechnical Engineer’ will return results for a number of consultancies operating in the local area that are capable of preparing a suitable report.
Your application must be accompanied by a statement of:
- The number of persons residing, or probably number of persons to reside, on the premises.
- Such other factors as are relevant to the capacity of the proposed on-site sewage management system.
Operation and Maintenance
Your application must be accompanied by details of:
- The operation and maintenance requirements for the proposed on-site sewage management system.
- The proposed operation, maintenance and servicing arrangements intended to meet those requirements.
- The action to be taken in the event of a breakdown in, or other interference with, its operation.
If you would like further information about on-site sewage management systems, please contact Council’s Environmental Services Department on (02) 6340 2040.