Installing or altering a septic system

If you’re building or renovating, you will need to get approvals to:

  1. install or alter a septic tank, AND
  2. start using it.

Who you apply to depends on the size of the system.

If you are proposing to install a:

  • residential system (treats up to 5,000 litres a day) – apply through us
  • commercial or a community facility system (5,000+ litres per day) – apply for an operating licence and a development licence from the EPA. 

Applications for larger systems that go to the EPA do not need further approval from us.

Before you apply, you'll need to create an account for eservices. Most registrations are approved within one business day. You'll only need to register once to submit, track and amend your application.

Register for eservices

Approvals process for your residential system

Before you start installing or altering a septic system, you must finalise your planning permit if one is required for your project.

Next steps:

  • Apply for a permit to install a septic system. You can do this at the same time as applying for a building permit. Note: septic approval may need to be granted before your building permit can be issued.
  • Arrange for us to do a final inspection.

We will issue you with a permit to use the system once approved. 

Apply to install or alter a septic system

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

  • Future use of the land – you won’t be able to build over the effluent field.
  • Distances to boundaries, watercourses (including dams), other buildings, swimming pools, tennis courts and driveways. Find out the minimum distances in the Environment Protection Authority Code of Practice (891.4).
  • Where livestock is kept – 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 septic system conditions (such as do you need to choose a primary or secondary system).

Speak to a licensed plumber about the types of septic tank systems available and the best type of system to meet your needs. You must choose a system that is approved by the EPA. 

Documents to include in your application

You need to include:

  • 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
  • location of existing septic tank system if required to be decommissioned.

To talk about your application, call Environmental Health Business Support on 9433 3340.

Apply to install or alter a septic tank


We send an invoice after we have checked your application. Cost is $777.19 (2023-2024).

Next steps

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

Apply to use a septic tank system

Your plumber has installed your septic tank. You need to have it inspected to get your permit to use a septic tank system. There is no additional cost for this permit and you don’t need to apply again.

Your plumber needs to organise a final inspection once the septic system has been installed and before it has been completely backfilled. We need at least two days’ notice.

To get the certificate you need to send us:

  • Certificate of Compliance from the Victorian Building Authority (the plumber will organise this)
  • commission report (if applicable)
  • site plan – accurate, to scale, as-constructed.

If you have installed an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System you will need to attach a copy of the maintenance service agreement.

More information