Businesses on un-serviced allotments

Private water supply

All businesses and community groups that rely on a private water supply for drinking (potable) water must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the water is safe for human consumption.

Private water supplies can contain a wide range of disease-causing microorganisms and harmful chemicals if the water is not treated correctly. Private water supplies include water pumped from rivers, creeks, bores, dams and rainwater tanks.

If you are registered under either the Food Act 1984 (Vic), Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 or Residential Tenancies (Caravan Parks and Movable Dwellings Registration and Standards) Regulations 1999, the law requires you to treat and manage your drinking water supply to make it safe for human consumption.

Environmental Health Officers conduct risk assessments at premises on private water supplies, review their records and collect water samples to ensure compliance.

Please refer to the following documents for further information and record keeping templates:

Wastewater treatment systems

In areas where reticulated (mains) sewer is not available, sewage (toilet and kitchen water) and sullage (from baths, laundry, showers etc) must be treated and contained within the boundaries of the property.

This is done through the use of domestic wastewater treatment systems, commonly known as septic systems. These generally treat waste in a tank and discharge wastewater into a designated effluent disposal area.

Septic tank systems are approved and assessed in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1970.

Council generally does not specify which type of system must be installed, although all treatment system brands and models must be certified by an accredited conformity assessment body (CAB) as conforming to the relevant Australian Standard. This accreditation is given by JAS-ANZ (the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand).

You need a council permit to install a new wastewater treatment system which can treat up to 5,000 litres daily. However, you need an EPA licence to install and run a wastewater treatment system that can treat more than 5,000 litres daily.

Altering an existing wastewater treatment system will also require a council permit. This includes changes that increase the system's flow or load.

Businesses connected to a wastewater treatment system must maintain their system. Managing your wastewater treatment system will increase its life and prevent harm to the environment.

 

Installing a new wastewater treatment system

Before applying 

If you are a new business or an existing business wanting to make changes, you must first complete the Business Permit Checklist to determine if any other permits are required.

Submit your application

When you are ready, complete your registration using the Application to install or alter a septic tank form.

Submitting your application includes:

  • Paying the relevant Registration fee. Please contact the Environmental Health team (9433 3340 or health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au) for the relevant fee
  • Providing a copy of the site plan showing exactly where the new system will be installed, including the effluent disposal area
  • Providing a copy of the floor plan, showing the number of bedrooms and studies
  • Providing a copy of the Land Capability Assessment or Soil Assessment if applicable

Altering an existing wastewater treatment system

Before applying 

If you are a new business or an existing business wanting to make changes, you must first complete the Business Permit Checklist to determine if any other permits are required.

Submit your application

When you are ready, complete your registration using the Application to install or alter a septic tank form.

Submitting your application includes:

  • Paying the relevant Registration fee. Please contact the Environmental Health team (9433 3340 or health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au) for the relevant fee
  • Providing a copy of the site plan showing exactly where the existing system is located and where the alterations will occur
  • Providing a copy of the floor plan, showing the number of bedrooms and studies
  • Providing a copy of the Land Capability Assessment or Soil Assessment if applicable.

Considerations when submitting your planning application

When designing the wastewater treatment system, the following should be considered:

  • Future use of the land
  • The location of the wastewater treatment system must meet the minimum setback 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)
  • Keeping of livestock (cannot be on effluent disposal area)
  • Proximity of nearby trees and native vegetation

Owners may need to include the following information with the planning application:

  • Location of existing wastewater treatment system (this is so Council can be satisfied that the system will not be disturbed or built on)
  • Capacity (L) of existing septic tank: whether it is an all waste system (toilet waste and sullage) or a split system
  • Length and location of existing absorption trenches or irrigation area
  • Whether effluent is discharged offsite (into the stormwater drain)
  • Other relevant information such as the location of outbuildings, dams, creeks and fences
  • An effluent envelope may be designated on the site as part of the planning permit or Section 173 agreement. All wastewater must be disposed of within this envelope unless consent has been given for disposal to occur in another location
  • Land Capability Assessment (LCA) if required
  • In older dwellings, the wastewater disposal system may be required to be upgraded, or a new system installed, to comply with current requirements.

Maintaining your wastewater treatment system

  • Ensure you can access your system easily.
  • Use licensed plumbers to assess whether your system needs cleaning and unblocking.
  • Desludge the septic pump every three to five years. How often depends on level of system use.
  • Have the system's mechanics serviced every three months. Record all system maintenance.
  • Have an accredited servicing agent install an alarm to warn you of breakdowns.
  • Maintain the disinfection chamber. This chamber uses chlorine to get rid of bacteria. Chlorine tablets must be fitted to the dispenser in the right way. UV light tubes must be cleaned often.
  • Don’t drive vehicles over any part of the system.
  • Don’t allow stormwater to discharge into the septic tank or over the disposal/drain field.
  • Don’t cover the tank or drain field.
  • Don’t place non-biodegradable items or rubbish into the system. Bacteria and other organisms can't break down these items or rubbish.

Watch a short video from the City of Casey describing how to maintain your wastewater treatment system.

Keeping your wastewater treatment system working

To reduce sludge build up in the tank:

  • scrape all dishes to remove fats and grease before washing
  • don't put solids in the system
  • don't use a food waste disposal unit unless your system can carry the extra load
  • don't put hygiene products in the system. For example, sanitary napkins and tissues.

Not all bacteria is harmful. Some of the bacteria in your wastewater treatment system converts your input to liquid and gas.

To keep bacteria working well:

  • use biodegradable soaps and detergents that are low in phosphate. Phosphates feed algae that pollute waterways.
  • in dispersive soil areas, use detergents that are low in sodium
  • use the right amount of detergents
  • don't put chemicals or paint down your drains.

Powerful bleaches, whiteners, nappy soakers, spot removers or disinfectants can impact how well your system works. Try to avoid using them.

To reduce the amount of wastewater you produce:

  • install water saving fittings
  • take showers instead of baths
  • wash only full loads of clothes.

To avoid overloading your wastewater management system, space out your water use. For example:

  • Don't do all your washing in one day.
  • Don't run your dishwasher and washing machine at the same time.

Dealing with system failures

You must monitor your system for potential failures, especially older systems. This means watching for warning signs, including:

  • foul smells coming from or near the system
  • slow running toilets or drains
  • full or blocked grease trap
  • wastewater run off from the disposal area
  • wastewater pooling on the absorption field's surface

You must take steps to address any issues, even if only on your property.