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Routine Wastewater Testing Requirements

How often is a permit needed to operate a wastewater treatment system?

Onsite sewerage facilties (OSF) or Home Sewage Treatment Plants (HSTP) require approval before installation and regular testing for continued operation. This ensures the system is working properly - the effluent is safe to be released and doesn't cause pollution. Just like your car requires regular servicing, so does your wastewater treatment plant.

Owners are responsible to maintain the system on their property and renew the permit annually. According to Queensland Government Plumbing Legislation, the owner is responsible for the maintenance of the on-site wastewater treatment plant.

If you operate a system which is not operating properly, it can have serious consequences on your health and the local environment. Moreover, you can also be fined by the council for operating a non-compliant OSF. To prevent this inconvenience and unnecessary hassle it's essential to schedule a regular servicing.

How often are the HSTP service reports required?

Regular service reports are mandatory for owners of HSTP in Queensland. For example, Brisbane City Council requires owners with on-site sewerage facilities to have a valid wastewater permit which should be renewed every year. The required service and testing needs to be conducted by a licensed wastewater service agent.

Have you gotten your HSTP tested yet? Let our wastewater experts help you.

What is tested?

According to the Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater code, the OSF must meet the following criteria:

  • Biological Oxygen Demand should be less than 20mg/L
  • Suspended Solids should be less than 30mg/L
  • Thermotolerant coliforms should be at an acceptable level of 200cfu/100ml

We can collect the required samples from your property and send it to a lab for analysis.

The property owner needs to fill the owner section of the Aerobic Sewage Treatment Plant Service Report (DTS3) and the wastewater professionals fill the chemist section of the form. Once the results are received, they can be forwarded to the local council.

What is the penalty for not maintaining OSF?

Local governments can issue 20 penalty units to owners for operating a non-compliant OSF under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 (Section 70). If the service report is not received within the usual service interval, the council will contact the property owner and service agents for follow up.


  • https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Development/Building-and-Plumbing/Onsite-Treatment-and-Greywater
  • https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-and-building/do-i-need-approval/residential-projects/plumbing-and-drainage/on-site-sewage-facilities