Why Is My On-site Sewage Management System Inspected?
A State Government survey of on-site sewage management systems in NSW showed that up to 70% were experiencing some type of failure. In 1998 new legislation (under Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993) was introduced that made it mandatory for local councils to monitor and approve the operation of all on-site sewage management systems and ensure that those systems complied with environmental and public health performance standards.
Snowy Monaro Regional Council has developed an inspection program for monitoring all on-site sewage management systems to ensure they meet standards protecting public health, the environment and community living.
Inspection Frequency and Fees and Charges
The length of an Approval to Operate an OSMS, and subsequently the frequency of inspections, is dependent upon the risk type (high or low) of the system and the property type (domestic or non-domestic). Inspections will be performed on a system every 1, 3, 6 or 9 years, depending on the risk and property type. Most OSMS require an inspection by a Council Officer prior to an Approval to Operate being issued.
Operators of OSMS are charged an annual fee on their rates notices.. This annual fee funds the administration of the OSMS program. Inspections, including requested (non-scheduled) inspections or re-inspections (e.g. due to non-compliance) performed by Council's Officers will be charged to the owner of the property, as per Council's Schedule of Fees and Charges.
Permission To Enter
If the 'Permission to Enter' section of your Application for Approval to Operate an OSMS was not completed, you will receive written Notice of Entry prior to the inspection. If a complaint is received about your OSMS, an unannounced inspection may be conducted.
What To Expect When You're Inspected
The inspection of your system will include, but is not limited to:
Physical condition of your tank
A check inside on the health and capacity of your tank
A check on the condition of any fixtures such as the yard gully, vents, inspection openings, exposed pipes
Detection of any strong odours from the tank or disposal area
Check on the condition of the disposal area
Signs of any wastewater or effluent pooling above ground
Any signs of inappropriate wastewater & effluent disposal occurring
Check of current service agreement (AWTS)
Check appropriate (and durable) signage is in place (AWTS)
After The Inspection
Following your inspection, you will be advised whether your system has been found to be satisfactory or unsatisfactory. If your OSMS is found to be operating satisfactorily, then an Approval to Operate will be issued. If it is found to be operating unsatisfactorily, then you will be advised of what you need to do to bring it into compliance.