More than half of Wollondilly’s population lives in rural and rural-residential areas, where Sydney Water’s sewer system is unavailable. As such, there are over 5000 on-site sewage management systems installed in the Shire.
Most of these systems are septic tanks and aerated wastewater treatment systems (AWTS). Other types of systems include pump-outs, mounds, reed beds, sand filters, biological filtration systems and wet composting units.
The correct operation of sewage management systems is essential for long term environment and health performance standards in the Shire. Managing these systems requires the cooperation and involvement of both the Council and property owners to prevent the degradation of the soil and vegetation and the contamination of water. As a community, we need to ensure that our rivers, streams and groundwater are not polluted by poorly maintained on-site sewage management systems, as we rely on our rivers for Sydney’s water supply, as well as for recreation, farming and food supplies.
Operating a sewage management system is a prescribed activity under Section 68 (F10) of the Local Government Act 1993. This means that an approval to operate your sewage management system must be obtained from Council. The approval requires households to meet environment and health performance standards when operating their systems and allows Council to monitor the systems in the Shire to ensure these standards are met.
The approval fee contributes to monitoring and assurance of water quality, better control of effluent discharge, supervision of service agents, education programs and practical support to assist land owners. Residents in sewered areas also pay for this monitoring to ensure environmental standards are met through sewerage levy charges paid to Sydney Water.
Operating an on-site sewage management system without an Approval to Operate is an offence and may result in Council issuing a penalty infringement notice. Continued non-compliance will result in court action.
Council has an On-site Sewage Management System and Greywater Re-use Policy which outlines how systems should be installed, operated and maintained correctly to meet all appropriate performance objectives and legislative requirements.