1300 785 277

Waste Water Management

Septic Applications or Waste Control System (WCS) application

If you are building a new house, renovating an existing house, altering existing plumbing, or upgrading an existing waste control system then you will be required to submit an application to Council to install a waste control system, or to alter existing plumbing. When lodging a Development Application for a new dwelling or alteration to a Dwelling which involves changes to the existing plumbing you should also lodge a WCS application at the same time. The Council will not issue Development Plan Consent until a WCS application has been approved.

A waste control system includes:

  • a septic tank and effluent disposal system (including those connected to the Council's Common Effluent Drain Scheme (STEDS)
  • an Aerobic Sand Filter treatment and disposal system
  • an Aerobic Waste Water treatment and disposal system

The construction, installation or alteration of a septic tank system (waste control system) requires approval under the provisions of the Public and Environmental Health (Waste Control) Regulations.

Any persons wishing to install or alter a waste control system, including the alteration of any plumbing or drainage or intending to construct an addition to a house or to any building work that may encroach on the existing system, is required by the Public and Environmental Health (Waste Control) Regulations to make an application and receive approval from Council.

The Coorong District Council provides a full approval and inspection service of all installations and alterations. This requires all plumbing contactors to advise Council of any work that they are undertaking in our area. Plumbing work can only be carried out by licensed operators and this includes owner/builders.

Councils Environmental Health Officer has recently created two information booklets to assist in the lodgement of WCS applications. The booklets aim to assist in the lodgement of a WCS application as well as provide advice on the maintenance and care of Waste Control Systems.

No work in relation to the construction, installation or alteration of a waste control system can occur until the approval of the relevant authority has been granted. The installation or alteration of a waste control system is primarily a role of the local Council.

See the following information guides and application forms which will assist you in the approval process

To install a septic tank and soakage system you will first need to have a percolation test to determine whether the soil is of an acceptable quality for effluent disposal. A soil engineer will be required to conduct this test. If the percolation test is acceptable then an application to install a septic tank and soakage trench may be submitted.

If the percolation test is not acceptable then an alternative system such as an aerobic wastewater treatment system or aerobic sand filter will be required. If you initially choose to install either an aerobic sand filter or an aerobic wastewater treatment system a percolation test will not be required.

Installing an Aerobic Waste Water Treatment System

The aerobic wastewater treatment system is a mechanically driven system that WILL require on-going maintenance conducted by a trained technician (owner/occupiers are not permitted to service their own system without training). These systems recycle and disinfect the effluent so that it can then be utilised on-site via an irrigation system.

Installing an Aerobic Sand Filter System

The aerobic sand filter system is gravity fed and requires minimal maintenance, which can be carried out by the owner. This system also recycles and disinfects the effluent for distribution via an irrigation system.

Renovating an Existing House

If you are renovating an existing house then you may also need to submit a waste control systems application form to Council for approval if you are:

  • Increasing the number of rooms
  • Adding or upgrading any plumbing fixtures (eg: ensuite / kitchen / laundry / bathroom)

If you are increasing the number of rooms in the house contact the Council Environmental Health Officer as to whether your existing system is sufficient or if a larger system will be required.If you are adding or upgrading any plumbing fixtures you will need to contact the Council for an Application to Alter a Waste Control System.

Installing A Connection Point for STEDS

The Coorong District Council has Septic Tank Effluent Disposal Systems (STEDS) operating in Tailem Bend, Meningie, Tintinara and Wellington East. To find out whether you are in a STEDS area contact the Environmental Health Officer on 1300 785 277. Alternatively refer to the attached maps for your location.


Council requires that any new system or an alteration to an existing system must be inspected at the following stages and prior to backfilling or covering:

  • underfloor plumbing and drainage
  • installation of septic tank
  • installation of the effluent disposal system

** Fines can apply for not notifying the Council at these stages **


The inspection of systems approved by Council must be carried out by the Environmental Health Officer or other authorised officer of Council.

For additional information about Waste Water Management or Inspections please contact Council's Development and Environmental Services team on 1300 785 277

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Coorong District Council

95-101 Railway Terrace, Tailem Bend SA 5260

PO Box 399, Tailem Bend SA 5260

Call: 1300 785 277


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