On-Site Sewage Management

Onsite sewage management in the Richmond Valley Council area is governed by a number of guidelines and legislations mainly the Local Government (Approvals) Regulation 1993 and including the Local Government (Approvals) Amendment (Sewage Management) Regulation 1998. This regulation defines a 'sewage management facility' as:

  • a human waste storage facility; and
  • a waste treatment device intended to process sewage and includes a drain connected to such a facility or device.

The amendments do not alter the existing powers and duties of the Council to regulate the installation of an operation of onsite sewage management systems (OSMS) under Section 68 and 124 of the Local Government Act, 1993. However, the amendment stipulates:

  • Council's responsibilities and powers to regulate the installation and ongoing operation of on-site sewage management systems;
  • Performance standards for on-site sewage management, including protection of public health and prevention of environmental damage;
  • Accreditation roles and responsibilities of NSW Health;
  • Responsibilities of owners to seek a renewable approval to operate the facility; and
  • Council's responsibilities to develop a strategy for on-site sewage management within its area.

The Onsite Sewage and Wastewater Strategy encompasses all single dwelling domestic on-site wastewater disposal systems within the Richmond Valley Council area. The Strategy is divided into four sections being:

Section 1 Introduction to Richmond Valley Council Onsite Sewage and Wastewater Management Strategy.

Section 2 Richmond Tweed Onsite Regional Sewage and Wastewater Strategy.

Part A - Assessment and Design of Onsite Management Systems

Part B - Onsite Management Systems Design Document

Part C - Site Assessment Reporting Procedures

Section 3 Approval to Operate Sewage and Wastewater Management Systems - Management and Implementation

Section 4 Community Information Documents


Use of Mounds in the Construction of Evapotranspiration Beds

Since October 2009 no applications have been accepted by Richmond Valley Council that propose the use of mounds in the construction of disposal areas for evapotranspiration beds. This relates to the diagrams labelled ‘Typical Mounded System’ and ‘Cross Section of Typical Mounded System’.

The reasons for the removal of these diagrams from the strategy are because:

  • Fill often has highly variable properties, such as permeability.  Fill can be prone to subsidence and could contain material that might not be suitable for plant growth or for constructing disposal areas.
  • Unpredictability of how the wastewater will be disposed of in the fill, possible the creation of preferential flow paths leading to disposal area failure and concerns in regards to the even distribution of the wastewater at the interface of the fill and the existing natural ground level.
  • Supply of fill - where did it the fill come from?  Is it suitable for the disposal of wastewater?
  • Inexperience with design and construction of mound systems.

Onsite Sewage Management Daily Effluent Model

Richmond Valley Council has a computer model available to calculate daily household effluent demand, and minimum disposal area requirements for onsite sewage management. The model comprises an excel spreadsheet which is freely available by contacting Council's Environmental Health section on 6660 0300.

Due to size restrictions the model is currently not available to download.


Installation of an Onsite Sewage Management System

To install an onsite sewage management system, an application form is available on the Septic Systems page