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What approvals are needed for on-site sewage facilities in QLD?

We know we know... on-site sewage facilities aren't exactly the most exciting topic to talk about. They are designed to literally treat the stuff you put down your sink or any other piping in your home, so it's a messy and kinda yucky conversation, but it is super important.

On-site sewage facilities

You're probably wondering why we think it is so important to talk about waste treatment, and that's a fair enough question. The reason is simple - we are thinking of the health and safety of you, your household, the community and the environment. Ensuring you have a wastewater treatment system on your property that is correctly designed, installed and working to its full capacity is a big part of keeping the health of you and the environment at safe levels.

The inappropriate treatment of sewage can have so many negative results, so that is why we have collated some information regarding what an on-site sewage facility is and what approvals are needed to install one. This ensures your system is the most appropriate for you, your household, the environment and your property, as well as your community. If you have any questions, give Express Wastewater a call at 1300 722 517 and we would be happy to discuss your queries.

What is an on-site sewage treatment system?

According to the Queensland Government, an on-site sewage facility is ' a facility on premises for treating, storing and disposing of sewage generated on the premises '. They are used to treat domestic sewage on premises for properties that are in unsewered areas, and one of these facilities may include:

  • An on-site sewage treatment plant utilises biological, mechanical and filtration methods to treat waste before releasing it either above or below ground through an irrigation system.
  • A septic system that utilises biological methods to treat waste before releasing it into a system that is below ground.

Note however that an on-site sewage facility does not include a dry-vault toilet that is not a:

  • Chemical toilet
  • Composting toilet
  • Incinerating toilet
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Approved on-site sewage treatment systems

The Department of Housing and Public Works within the Queensland Government are the sector that approves wastewater treatment systems of varying qualities, including:

These kinds of systems are used to treat sewage for households with 20 people or less, and approvals that were granted under section 186(3) of the repealed Standard Sewerage Law remain current under section 108 of Standard Sewerage Law 1998 until the expiry of the approval under the repealed law.

Composting treatment systems are dealt with separately, therefore head to the composting toilets section of the Queensland Government website for more information. Greywater treatment plants also require the approval of the department and greywater diversion devices are not approved by the department at all but must have WaterMark Certification and comply with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

Who must have an on-site sewage facility?

Any property that is not connected to municipal sewerage systems is required to have an on-site sewage facility.

What approvals are needed?

There are varying approvals and requirements needed when it comes to on-site sewage facilities, with both homeowners and manufacturers required to obtain them.


In order to install an on-site sewage treatment facility, whether it is an on-site sewage treatment plant or a septic system, you are required to obtain approval from your local government. If you do not have appropriate approval you can not install a facility, so take a look at the Queensland Government Local Government Directory if you need some help as to who you need to contact.

If you are wanting to install an on-site sewage treatment plant, you must also obtain treatment plant approval in accordance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018. This includes:

  • New treatment plants seeking treatment plant approval must obtain accreditation against AS1546.3:2017 or AS1546.4:2016.
  • A new application relating to a greywater treatment plant must comply with AS1546.4:2016 (Domestic greywater treatment systems) and the conformity assessment requirements.
  • A new application relating to a secondary on-site sewage treatment plant must comply with AS AS1546.3:2017 (Secondary Treatment Plants) and the conformity assessment requirements.

To apply to the chief executive for treatment plant approval, you must submit Form 10 - Treatment plant approval. Go to the treatment plant approval Queensland Government site for more information.


For on-site sewage treatment plants that are to be installed for the sewage of 21 persons or less, chief executive approvals are issued by the Department of Housing and Public Works. If the system is designed to deal with sewage for 21 people or more, a licence is required to be obtained from the Department of Environment and Science.

If you are curious, the Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code and AS1546.3:2017 set out the performance requirements and criteria utilised to assess both on-site sewage treatment and greywater treatment facilities.

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Your local wastewater treatment experts

If you have any further questions regarding on-site sewage facilities or any other wastewater treatment options that may be available to you, give Express Wastewater Solutions a call at 1300 722 517 and we would be happy to discuss your household wastewater needs. We are your knowledgeable and experienced wastewater experts.


Queensland Government (On-site sewage facilities): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government (Approved systems): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government (Secondary quality): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government (Advanced secondary): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government (Advanced secondary with nutrient removal): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government (Treatment plant approvals): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government (Composting toilets): https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au

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.