Properties or businesses that are not connected to town sewer need to use their own (septic) on-site sewage management systems (OSMS).
For general advice and background information on septic systems, including the types of sewage management systems available, there is a Government produced booklet which you may find useful. The easy septic guide can be viewed here.
Council has an inspection program for these systems, with assessment and advice given to make sure they work properly. Find out more below.
For information about installing an new septic system and getting approval to operate you should refer to our Plan & Build Onsite Sewage Management page
Why do we monitor onsite sewage management systems?
In short, it's to make sure they work correctly and don't cause problems to public health or the natural environment. We monitor systems in high risk areas, such as near waterways more frequently than low risk area systems.
What do we monitor?
Council monitors all different types of on-site sewage management system. Each system type requires different performance, maintenance and servicing requirements. For example, we monitor pumpout systems by recording each pumpout service, and predicting the next. This way, we can run reports on pumpout systems that have not had a recent service. Similarly, we monitor AWTS systems by ensuring that they are being serviced, as required by NSW Health accreditation, on a regular basis. Each service report is reviewed by us for any works to be performed and details registered in our database.
What does it cost?
Council charges an annual fee for all on-site sewage management systems. This fee becomes part of the annual property rate notice. The current fee can be viewed in Council's Fees & Charges(PDF, 4MB) .
More information on your responsibilities, and useful maintenance advice is available in the booklet The Easy Septic Guide
Pumping Out Your System.
All contractors that pump out effluent and transport the waste must be licenced by Council. This is to ensure that waste is disposed of correctly. Contractors are also required to provide records to Council of the jobs they carry out. This allows us to make sure that systems are being maintained regularly.
The contactors below are currently licensed by Great Lakes Council:
- Doyle Natural Resource Solutions Pty Ltd - Tel. 0403 525 490 - Entire Great Lakes Region
- Enviroking Pty Ltd - Tel. 4930 3000 - South of Bulahdelah
- JR Richards & Sons - Tel. 02 6555 7007 - Entire Great Lakes Region
- Mid Coast Liquid Waste - Tel. 02 6553 6388 / 0412 460 873 - Entire Great Lakes Region
- Transpacific Industries - Tel. 1800 003 283 - Entire Great Lakes Region
A pump-out is usually required every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on water usage. How often you pump-out depends on the size of the tank and the number of people using the system.
Your septic tank will need attention if you notice any of the following:
- Bad smell - Usually like rotten eggs.
- Damp ground or pools of liquid downhill of the system.
- Toilets or drains are slow to clear.
- Too much water is going into the system.
- Chemicals have gone into the system (such as solvents, oils, paint, pesticides or bleach).