Council’s role as a regulator is primarily to ensure all septic systems in the region meet the requirements under the Local Government Act 1993 and Local Government (General) Regulation 2021. In simple terms, Council must ensure that septic systems don’t cause harm to public health and the environment.
To achieve this, Environmental Health Officers in the On-site Wastewater Management Section routinely do the following:
- Maintain a register of approximately 13,000 septic systems operating in the region;
- Review service maintenance reports for aerated wastewater treatment systems and ensure any system problems are resolved as soon as practicable;
- Proactively inspect systems in high-risk areas to make sure they are being operated and maintained properly;
- Inspect new systems to make sure they’ve been installed correctly;
- Investigate reports alleging pollution from failing systems;
- Issue approvals to install and operate septic systems; and
- Educate the communicate about septic systems and the latest standards and requirements.
Council imposes an annual levy (fee)(PDF, 153KB) on all households with a septic system, which covers expenses associated with the compliance and educational activities in the On-site Wastewater Management Section.
The fee is legal under the Local Government Act 1993 and is commonly applied by rural and regional councils in NSW to ensure enough resources are available to manage the risks associated with a significant number of septic systems over a large area. For legal reasons, the fee must be shown as a separate charge on the rates notice.