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  3. Want to know a little more about on-site sewerage treatment systems in Moreton Bay?

Want to know a little more about on-site sewerage treatment systems in Moreton Bay?

The Moreton Bay area is a wonderful place to live, with beautiful scenery, friendly people and a gorgeous environment. In order to keep the surroundings clean and the waterways unpolluted though, the disposal of wastewater is super important.

Wastewater Treatment

That is why Moreton Bay Regional Council has a range of rules and regulations when it comes to on-site sewerage treatment for properties in their area, which is why we have put some information together to help residents (or incoming residents) negotiate the process when installing one. If you have any questions regarding any of the information provided, give Express Wastewater Solutions a call on 1300 722 517 and we would be happy to discuss your household wastewater needs.

On-site sewerage treatment

What is an on-site sewerage facility?

An on-site sewerage facility, otherwise known as an OSSF, is any system that has the capability to store, treat and dispose of household wastewater on a property.

Who must have an OSSF?

Anyone who is not connected to a municipal sewerage arrangement must have an OSSF.

What are the different types of OSSF?

There are a few different types of on-site sewerage facilities, including:

A sewerage treatment system can have up to 3 stages when it comes to dealing with waste:

  • The primary treatment phase , which is where solids are broken down into liquid waste and released underground.
  • The secondary treatment phase , which is where organic waste is broken down into wastewater that is in a suitable state for either surface or subsurface release.
  • Finally, the advanced secondary phase is where suspended solids are reduced into wastewater that is released into sensitive environmental areas.
Need Professional Help with On-site Sewage Facilities? Let our septic system experts help you.

Who is responsible for what when it comes to on-site sewerage facilities?

‍When it comes to OSSFs, the responsibilities are somewhat dispersed between parties:

  • Property Owner: Responsible for obtaining approval for OSSF and ensuring regular maintenance is carried out.
  • Licensed Plumber/Drainer: Responsible for installing an OSSF.
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council : Responsible for ensuring compliance with standards imposed by the relevant legislation and that all OSSFs are operating correctly.

What approvals are needed for an on-site sewerage facility?

‍If an owner is required to have an OSSF installed on their property, it must be approved by the Council before it is installed. There are few steps involved, which are set out below.

Site and Soil Evaluation

When obtaining approval from Council, a part of the process is a site and soil evaluation, as it is essential that the evaluator selects the most suitable arrangement for the property and engages the best environmental practices to support the chosen design. A key consideration in determining how sewage is controlled and disposed of is the quality of effluent that is released from an OSSF.

In addition to the above, after an OSSF has been installed a site and evaluator must inspect and certify the unit to ensure that it fully complies with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002, the Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code, Council's development conditions and the Environmental Protection Act 1994. This is done by completing a Form 8 which is available on the Moreton Bay Regional Council site .

*Tip - Before lodging an application to install, extend or remove an OSSF with Council, consult with a site and soil evaluator to discuss the options available for effluent disposal within your property.

Commissioning Certificate

After a wastewater treatment system has been installed, the manufacturer of the plant must certify that the arrangement has been constructed in accordance with design requirements and specifications and that such equipment has been installed and commissioned in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. This certification is known as a Commissioning Certificate .

Request for Concurrence Agency

Finally, a concurrence agency referral is required under the Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulations 2003 when a Private Building Certifier is assessing any domestic extension where the number of bedrooms increases in a dwelling, and there is an OSSF on the property. This must be done even when plumbing work is not part of the extension, and the referral is provided to the Council for review.

The role of Council (as a concurrence agency) is to assess if the OSSF that is currently on the property can handle the extension. It is the responsibility of a Private Building Certifier to complete a Request for concurrence agency for on-site wastewater management application and pay the relevant fee.

Monitoring OSSFs

‍When it comes to monitoring on-site sewerage facilities, there are a few points to remember:

  • Moreton Bay Regional Council must approve all OSSFs before they are installed, so only units that have had an approval issued may be established on a property.
  • After receiving an application to install an OSSF, the Council will check the design of the disposal system and will provide conditions of approval for installation. The installation of the OSSF is then required to comply with that approval.
  • After an OSSF is installed by a licensed plumber/drainer, Council will attend the property to inspect it.
  • It is the responsibility of Council to ensure all OSSFs within the region comply with standards imposed by the relevant legislation.
  • Periodic audits are carried out by Council on units across the region, and owners will be advised if their OSSF does not comply. Fees may be charged by the Council for this service and owners are required to contact their service agent or a licensed plumber/drainer if they do not comply with the ‘conditions of approval’.
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council does not check the operational components of a system, nor do they approve them. You must check with the manufacturer and other users to see their quality, as well as approaching the manufacturer regarding warranties.
Owners must be aware that servicing any facility is a normal procedure to ensure that routine ongoing efficient operation occurs - Moreton Bay Regional Council

A few helpful OSSF tips

‍We thought we’d let you in on a few handy hints when it comes to OSSFs, to make things a little easier for you!

  • Try and ensure your water usage is spread over the week as evenly as possible, as this will reduce the possibility of any water overload in the disposal areas.
  • It is common for odours to be emitted when an OSSF begins however, if these odours continue, call a professional ASAP for advice.
  • If your property is subjected to a prolonged period of rain, it may take several weeks for your disposal area to dry out. If this is the case, you may need to consider an alternative disposal area. If this is the case, speak to the Moreton Bay Regional Council and they can assist.
  • If possible, keep an area of your property obstruction-free to allow for back-up trenching to be installed, if your current area becomes unusable.
  • Ensure only Council-approved septage carriers pump out septic tanks, grey water pump wells and large grease traps (140 litres).
  • All household wastewater, which is not otherwise removed from the property, must be treated, disposed and contained within the property from which it was generated.
  • Remember, what goes down your drain will end up in your backyard, so make good choices!
Express Wastewater Solutions

Your local wastewater treatment experts

If you have any further questions regarding on-site sewerage treatment systems or any other wastewater treatment options, give Express Wastewater Solutions a call on 1300 722 517 and we would be happy to discuss your household wastewater needs. We are your knowledgeable and experienced wastewater experts, so get in contact now!


Moreton Bay Regional Council (On-site sewerage treatment): https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Services/Building-Development/Building-and-Plumbing/On-site-Sewerage

Moreton Bay Regional Council (Your Guide to Wastewater & Sewerage Systems): https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/files/assets/public/services/building-development/building-plumbing/wastewater-and-sewerage-systems-brochure.pdf

Queensland Government (On-site sewage facilities): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction/BuildingPlumbing/Plumbing/OnSiteSewerage/Pages/default.aspx

The information contained on this web page is created as general information and should be used as a guide only. Express Wastewater Solutions will not take any responsibility for any consequences that may arise from reliance on this web page and its information.