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Onsite Wastewater Works

Wastewater Legislation

The South Australian Public Health (Wastewater) Regulations 2013 and the SA On-site Wastewater Systems Code stipulate the requirements for treatment and disposal of waste on properties not serviced by SA Water.  Anyone intending to install a new onsite wastewater system or alter an existing one needs to comply with these Regulations and Code.  

Key changes from previous legislation:

  • A wastewater engineer’s site and soil assessment is required for all sites with onsite disposal of wastewater.  It needs to accompany the application submitted to Council.
  • Only licensed plumbers are permitted to undertake wastewater works.  This includes works associated with soakage systems and irrigation areas associated with aerobic wastewater treatment systems.
  • Certificates of Compliance are required for all work undertaken and must be provided within 28 days of completion.
  • Persons servicing wastewater systems are required to have completed a training course specified by SA Health.  The three day course is now being offered by TAFE SA.

Below are links to the Regulations and Code for onsite wastewater systems:

On-site Wastewater Systems Code

South Australian Public Health Wastewater Regulations 2013

Approved Product List




Application Process

Anyone wishing to install a new onsite wastewater system or undertake alterations to an existing system need to apply to Council, refer below for application form and fees schedule.  In almost every case a wastewater engineer’s report needs to accompany the application.  The exception being where onsite disposal is not involved, i.e. a septic tank and holding tank installation, or where the disposal component is not to be altered.  Holding tanks are only permitted as a solution to servicing existing allotments where no alternatives are feasible.

Council Application Form for Wastewater Works Approval

Wastewater Works Application Fees 2018/2019

Servicing of Waterwater Systems

The relevant section of the South Australian On-site Wastewater Systems Code has been provided below for your reference. 

In terms of the Service Report you will need to refer to AS/NZS 1547:2012.

11 Operation and Maintenance

11.1   General

All on-site wastewater systems require ongoing operation and maintenance to ensure that the design performance of the system is achieved for its expected life. If not operated and maintained correctly, on-site wastewater systems will fail to comply with approved performance criteria which increases the risk to public and environmental health.

11.2   Operation and maintenance manuals

The designer, manufacturer and/or installer must prepare operation and maintenance manuals for all aspects of the on-site wastewater system. The designer, manufacturer and/or installer must ensure that operation and maintenance manuals are provided to all operators of an on-site wastewater system at the time of installation or on occupation of the premises.

Further information is provided in chapter 12.

For assistance in preparing operation and maintenance guidelines, refer to AS/NZS 1547. The relevant authority may request copies of the documents.

11.3   Maintenance and servicing

11.3.1  Owners/Operators

Owners/operators of on-site wastewater systems shall ensure that they hold maintenance and service contracts for their on-site wastewater systems, where applicable under the conditions of approval. Owners/operators shall ensure that all maintenance and servicing is undertaken by an appropriately trained person with experience in servicing wastewater systems (see section 11.4).

Owners/operators must ensure that:

  • Operation and maintenance procedures are undertaken to a regular schedule appropriate to the nature and type of the on-site wastewater treatment and land application system, and in accordance with any manufacturers' or designers' instructions and/or the conditions of approval from the relevant authority.
  • Continuity of operation and maintenance is achieved throughout changes of ownership, occupier and/or use or any development of the premises.

11.3.2   Relevant authority

The local council may choose to undertake septic tank desludging (particularly in areas with a CWMS) and/or provide maintenance services through a contractor or other agents (see appendix F).

The relevant authority reserves the right to request that owners and/or service agents provide copies of maintenance/servicing contracts and reports.

11.3.3   Primary treatment tank/septic tank sludge disposal

Primary treatment tank/septic tank desludging must be carried out by an EPA licensed contractor, and sludge shall be disposed of in accordance with the South Australian Biosolids Guidelines.

See chapter 11.6 of this Code for further information.

Note: This clause applies only to the contents of primary treatment tanks and septic tanks and does not apply to holding tank wastewater.

11.3.4   Holding tank wastewater disposal

Holding tank wastewater must be disposed of by an EPA licensed contractor at a wastewater treatment plant or wastewater treatment lagoon, as approved by the relevant authority and in accordance with that relevant authority's requirements.

11.4   Service providers

AWTS servicing must be undertaken by an appropriately trained person. This person must have completed a training course as specified by the DHA. Additionally, manufacturers may require these service providers to undertake further training specific to their particular units. In the first instance, service providers should contact the manufacturers to confirm individual system servicing requirements.

Servicing must be undertaken in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the conditions of the relevant authority's approval.

Service providers must forward a copy of each service record to the relevant authority and notify that authority if they cease to service the system.

11.4.1   Availability of service

Emergency service should be provided within 24 hours of a service request at all times.

City of Port Lincoln
City of Port Lincoln ABN: 80 776 127 243
PO Box 1787, PORT LINCOLN SA 5606
Level One, Civic Centre, 60 Tasman Terrace, Port Lincoln
Telephone: 08 8621 2300 | Fax: 08 8621 2399 | Email:
City of Port Lincoln ABN: 80 776 127 243
PO Box 1787, PORT LINCOLN SA 5606
Level One, Civic Centre,
60 Tasman Terrace, Port Lincoln
Telephone: 08 8621 2300 | Fax: 08 8621 2399
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