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On-Site Sewage Management Sytems


tonyhWed, 11/04/2018 - 12:22pm

From Gary Sylvaney, NACRA President

Residents should be aware of the generalised nature of the following information in relation to On Site Sewerage Management Systems in the Mid Coast Council area. All repairs or modifications must be approved before any work is commenced. A Council Application Form is attached to this article for downloading.

Remember, if repairs or up grades are required to your system, Council Approval must be obtained before any work is commenced.

By email, from Jess Hickson, Environment Officer, MidCoast Council, to Gary Sylvaney 21/2/2018

Regarding sullage pits/effluent disposal areas: If sullage pits/effluent disposal areas are found to be failing (i.e the area is wet and boggy) Council would require the system to be upgraded. This would require the owner to submit to Council an 'Application to Install/Alter an OSMS' (attached for your information), along with supporting documentation (listed on page 2 of the application) for assessment.

Generally speaking, if the allotment is greater than 4000m2 in size Council would require the owner to submit a wastewater report, prepared by a suitably qualified professional with demonstrated experience in effluent disposal matters to identify the most suitable system for their allotment.

The wastewater consultant would go to the property and undertake a site and soil assessment, look into rainfall for the area, the development on the site (i.e number of bedrooms/occupants) and any environmental constraints, such as waterways. The wastewater consultant would then recommend the most suitable onsite sewage management system (tank and disposal area) for that site. The wastewater consultant also considers setback distances for effluent disposal areas to houses, property boundaries, driveways, pools and paths etc. when undertaking their assessment.

There are a number of systems that the wastewater consultant may identify as being the most suitable for the allotment. Whilst there are a number of properties that have Aerated Wastewater treatment systems (with surface or subsurface irrigation), other suitable systems identified by a wastewater report may include septic tanks and trenches, mounds, wet composting systems, reed beds etc. It is a good idea for owners to discuss their system preference with the wastewater consultant to see if it can be achieved.

Council would then assess this application and wastewater report and give approval for a new system and effluent disposal area.

If however the allotment is small in size (i.e less than 4,000m2) often the only suitable system for effluent disposal is via an effluent pump out system. This can be either a 3,000 Litre septic tank and 4500 Litre collection well or a combined 7,100 Litre septic tank/collection well. The reason for the pump out system is that when a small site is developed, there is not enough area on the site for wastewater disposal to be achieved, taking into consideration wastewater amounts being produced, setback distances and the land remaining after the site has been developed etc.

It is noted however, that owners can obtain a wastewater report if their allotment is less than 4,000m2 in size to see if the disposal of effluent onsite can be achieved. It would be up to the owner to decide if they want to spend the money to get a wastewater report, which may only identify pump out systems as being the most suitable for effluent disposal on their allotment.

Regarding Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS). If an AWTS is old and not functioning in accordance with NSW Health's 'Certificate of Accreditation' or Council's 'Approval to operate' and 'General operating conditions' the owner may decide it's time to replace the tank. The owner may also be advised by their servicing agent that its time the tank be replaced.  This would require an 'Application to install/alter an OSMS' to be submitted to Council. In this situation only the tank would be replaced so a wastewater report would not be required to be submitted (unless additional bedrooms are proposed for the house).

Council does undertake inspections of existing systems. If irrigation areas, connected with AWTS are not satisfactory, Council will require works to be undertaken to bring them up to standard. This may include installing appropriate irrigation line and sprinklers and relocating the irrigation area to a more suitable area on the allotment. If the irrigation area is found to be presenting an environmental or public health risk, and the owners of properties are not maintaining their system, Council may require them to change the system to an effluent pump out system. This is only the case for small allotments and continued non-compliance.

If owners want to alter/upgrade their onsite sewage management system (tank or effluent disposal areas) they should contact Council and speak with an Environmental Health Officer to clarify what information needs to be submitted to Council prior to undertaking any works. Approval must be gained by Council prior to making any changes to a septic system or effluent disposal area.

I hope this information has been of assistance to you.

If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to respond to this email.

Thanking you.

Jess Hickson,

Application-form-OSMS-Application-to-Install-Alter-On-site-Sewage-Management-System.pdfEnvironmental Health Officer


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