On-site sewage management systems

If your home is not connected to the City of Coffs Harbour's reticulated sewerage system (or town sewer), then you are likely to dispose of your wastewater via an on-site sewage management system. 

An on-site sewage management system is a term used to refer to:       

  • Septic systems      
  • Secondary treatment systems e.g. aerated wastewater treatment systems, reed beds, sand filter      
  • Pump-out systems
  • Composting toilets

You need approval to install or modify an on-site sewage management system. You also need ongoing approval to operate an on-site sewage management system.

See how to apply for an on-site sewage management system

You can require a pre-purchase inspection to assess the working condition of the on-site sewage management system. This can be carried out whether a current approval is operative or not.

Within two months of the sale of a property, the new owner must apply for an approval to operate an on-site sewage management system. Failure to have an approval to operate an on-site sewage management system is an offence that attracts a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units (1 penalty unit is $110).

To have the approval to operate issued in the new owner's name, please complete the following online form: Application for Approval to Operate an On-site Sewage Management System

On-Site Sewage Management Strategy

The strategy provides information to the community, plumbers and drainers, service agents, consultants and developers on the requirements for installation, operation and maintenance of OSSMs.

On-Site Sewage Management Strategy(PDF, 3MB)

City of Coffs Harbour's strategy was originally prepared in 2000, reviewed in 2006 and updated in 2015 in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993, Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1547, and Department of Local Government Guideline 1998. Since the implementation of the strategy, key government guidelines and standards have been updated, reflecting changes in sewage treatment technology and effluent disposal methods along with a growing understanding of the human and environmental health impacts stemming from poorly managed on-site waste water systems.