Getting a System

Why do I need a permit?

The Environment Protection Act 1970 requires that all systems for the onsite treatment and disposal of waste water up to 5,000 litres per day must be approved by the local government prior to installation and/or alteration. To put this into perspective, a four bedroom house typically produces around 900 litres per day. 

You need to work with us if you are planning onsite wastewater treatment for:

  • The subdivision of land in an unsewered area
  • Building a new house in an unsewered area
  • Altering a building with an existing onsite wastewater system, or
  • Altering an existing onsite wastewater system.

Building a House

Before issuing a Building Permit your building surveyor will require an approved Permit to Install a septic tank system from the Local Council. Following this, a Certificate of Occupancy cannot be granted until a Permit to Use the septic tank system has been granted by Council’s Public Health Department.

If you are building or altering a dwelling we advise that you check with a registered building surveyor and Council’s Statutory Planning Department on 5624 2411 to determine what permits are required to complete the work.

If a planning permit is required for the works, we recommend that you wait until the permit has been issued before seeking a permit to install. This will save you additional costs of altering the approved wastewater system to match the conditions of the planning permit.

Subdividing Land

Part of the planning permit process for subdividing land includes demonstrating that wastewater can be treated and retained within the property. The proposal and supporting documentation that demonstrates wastewater can be retained on the developed land is submitted to Council for approval.

Altering a Building

Your original wastewater system was designed to cope with a certain load. Adding bedrooms or plumbing fixtures to your house may increase the load on the existing system, any of these changes require a permit from Public Health. During this process we will work with your plumber to understand if your system can cope with the proposed alterations or identify what upgrades you need to ensure wastewater continues to be treated and retained on your property. 

Commercial or Industrial Wastewater Systems

Systems that produce greater than 5,000 litres per day need to be approved by the Victorian Environment Protection Authority.

How do I get a permit?

There is a two-step process in the permitting of a domestic wastewater system. Step One involves applying to install or alter a system. If successful you will be given a Permit to Install the system. Step Two involves the granting of a Permit to Use the system, if the Public Health Department are satisfied the system has been installed in accordance with the Permit to Install.

Permit to Install the Septic System

To obtain a Permit to Install, you need to engage a licenced plumber to design the wastewater system, then complete and submit a permit to install/alter form (Print Version)(PDF, 196KB) . Your plumber can do this for you. Depending on your property you may also need to submit a Land Capability Assessment with your application. 

Once the application documents are received by Council, a Council Officer will review and may conduct a site visit to verify the proposal.

The Permit to Install contains a site plan approved by the Public Health Department, showing where the system is to be located and a list of conditions designed to ensure the system meets current regulatory and environmental requirements.

After the Public Health Department issues the Permit to Install you have two years to complete the work. Before the system can be used a Council Officer will inspect the installation and grant a Permit to Use. 

Permit to Use the Septic System

Your plumber must book an inspection of the installation with the Public Health Department with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.

Once satisfied the system has been installed as approved, a final ‘as constructed’ site drawing and a certificate of compliance have been submitted to the Public Health Department, the Council Officer can issue you with a Permit to Use the system.

The Permit to Use contains information to guide the use of your system in line with legislative requirements and should be stored in a safe location, accessible for subsequent property owners if you sell the property.  

Table of Fees

Fee Description


Copy of Plans (Hard Copy)


Copy of Plans (Electronic)


New System (Includes permit to install and use)


Alteration – Additional Fixtures (i.e. ensuite)


Alteration – Major (i.e. additional disposal area, new septic tank, pump well etc.)


Amend Permit Expiry Date


Amend Submitted Plans


Conveyancing Enquiry


Review Land Capability Assessment


Is my property suitable for onsite wastewater disposal?

Talking with a wastewater plumber is the first step when looking into getting a wastewater system. These tips may help you choose a reputable plumber.

What is a Land Capability Assessment?

Land Capability Assessments (LCA) for onsite wastewater disposal are submitted by an applicant to demonstrate that wastewater can be treated and contained within the property boundary as required by the Environment Protection Act 1970.

A LCA looks at the characteristics of your property that will aid or complicate wastewater disposal, some features of interest include; soil type, property size, distance to waterways, climate etc.  

To protect public health and the environment a LCA is required for applications within a declared water supply catchment.

How does Council assess your LCA?

LCA’s should meet the standard outlined in the EPA Code of Practice, the Victorian Land Capability Assessment Framework and Council’s Domestic Wastewater Management Plan. Council Officers are responsible for reviewing LCA’s and must be satisfied that the proposed treatment type, land application system and management plan are consistent with regulatory requirements and can be adhered to by the owner in order to protect public health and the environment.

Key components of an LCA that will be assessed

  • Clear summary of existing conditions and description of proposed development.
  • Acknowledgement of site constraints and how they will be managed.
  • Level of detail in the LCA reflecting the risk of not being able to treat all wastewater on site.
  • Clear visual depiction of site characteristics and how all required setback distances can be met.
  • The occurrence of excess rainfall versus evaporation for a number of months of the year across the majority of West Gippsland presents a significant constraint to effective wastewater management. Sizing land application areas according to a monthly water balance is a suitable mitigation technique for this constraint.