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On-site sewage management systems

On-site Sewage Management Systems (OSSM) refer to any system that treats wastewater and disposes of the effluent within the premises.

If you live in a house that is not connected to reticulated sewer, you will have an OSSM. As the owner of an OSSM, you have certain responsibilities to ensure that your system is maintained and working well.

On-site sewage management systems involve the treatment of wastewater followed by the release of liquid and solid products into the environment. If not maintained and treated properly, there can be serious adverse effects and impacts, including:

  • spreading of disease, bacteria, virus and pathogens
  • contamination of groundwater and surface water
  • degradation of soil and vegetation
  • spreading of unpleasant odours
  • encouraging insects and vermin.

Approval process

How do I apply for approval to install or alter and operate an OSSM?

If you would like to install a new onsite sewage management system on your property, or alter an exsisting system, you are required to gain approval from Council and submit an Application to Install/Alter and Operate an On-site Sewage Management System (refer to Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993).

Council's On-site Sewage Management Code of Practice explains the approvals process and requirements to help you prepare your application. You can also refer to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, which provides you with the details of documents required to be lodged with your application:

Application and fees

The application can be submitted by:

  • email: Council
  • post: Public and Environmental Health Team
    Eurobodalla Shire Council,
    PO Box 99 Moruya NSW 2537.

You will need to pay the applicable fee at the time of lodging your application. The current fees are:

  • installation application: $344
  • modification: $93
  • unapproved existing tank: $515.

All fees are detailed in Council's current fees and charges.

What type of sewage management system can I get?

According to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, Council must not approve of the installation of certain sewage management facilities unless they have been accredited by NSW Health. The types of sewage management facilities to which accreditation applies includes septic tanks, aerated wastewater treatment systems and composting toilets.

You can view a list of accredited sewage management systems on NSW Health's website.

I already have an approval for my sewage management system which has been operating for a while. Is there an opportunity to downgrade my risk rating?

All OSSM are allocated a risk rating which determines the frequency of inspections. There is an opportunity to downgrade the risk rating so inspections are required less frequently, where systems are well maintained and meet the following criteria:

  • No defects have been identified for the past three inspections (high risk) or two inspections (medium risk).
  • The property has remained in the same ownership during the above inspections.
  • The property is owner occupied (not tenanted or holiday rented).


You can apply to downgrade your risk rating by completing the following application:


Get SepticSmart fact sheets

You can use these helpful fact sheets for your household or business with an on-site sewage management system. The fact sheets aim to educate householders and businesses about operating and maintaining OSSMs in a safe, sustainable and responsible way:

More information

Contact us

If you need more information about on-site sewage management systems, please contact our Public and Environmental Health Team: