Installing or altering a septic system


If you’re building or renovating, there are things you need to do before you install or alter a septic tank – also called an onsite domestic wastewater system - on your property. 

You need approval first. 

  • For systems that can treat up to 5,000 litres a day, you can apply through Council.
  • For systems that can treat more than 5,000 litres a day, you need an operating licence and a development licence from the EPA. You don’t need further approval from Council.

How to get approval from Council

Before you start installing or altering a septic system, follow these steps:

  1. If required, go through planning permit stage.
  2. Submit a septic application form and get a permit to install a septic system – this can be done alongside your building permit process.
  3. Install or alter the septic system (but don’t backfill it).
  4. Council must conduct a final inspection to ensure all requirements are met.
  5. Council will issue you with a permit to use the system once approved. 

Get a permit to install or alter a septic system

When planning where to locate the septic system, you should consider:

  • Future use of the land – as it can’t be used in the future for other building etc.
  • Minimum distances to boundaries, watercourses (including dams), other buildings, swimming pools, tennis courts and driveways. These distances can be found in the Environment Protection Authority Code of Practice (891.4).
  • Where livestock is kept – as they can’t be kept on an effluent disposal area.
  • Distance to nearby trees and native vegetation.

Before you apply

  • Check your planning permit for any conditions relating to septic systems.
  • Speak to a licensed plumber about the types of septic tank systems available and the best type of system to meet your needs. You will need to choose a system that’s approved by the EPA. 

How to apply

When you submit an application to install or alter a septic system, ensure you have:

  • Site plan of proposed effluent field (ensure features such as waterways, dams and buildings are included)
  • Floorplan of all dwellings on site
  • A Land Capability Assessment if requested during the planning process.

If you have any queries about this, call Environmental Health Business Support on 9433 3340. 

Submit an application


Generally, the plumber will send payment with the application. We can also send an invoice after we receive your application. 

Cost is $777.19 (2023-2024).

After you apply

A Council officer will assess the application and organise a site inspection (generally within five to 10 business days). If the application is approved, Council will send a ‘permit to install a septic tank system’ to the plumber listed on the application.

Approval to use a septic tank system

When you get a final inspection on your septic system, Council will also issue a permit to use a septic tank system. There is no additional cost for this permit and you don’t need to apply again.

To obtain a certificate to use a septic tank system you will need:

  • A final inspection - the plumber should contact Council to organise this once the septic system has been installed and before it has been completely backfilled. Council requires at least two days’ notice.
  • A Certificate of Compliance from the Victorian Building Authority (the plumber will organise this).
  • A commission report (if applicable).
  • An accurate, to scale, as-constructed site plan.
  • A copy of the maintenance service agreement if you’ve installed an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System.