Site Search

What is an On-Site Sewage Management (OSSM) System?

To protect and maintain public and environmental health in the Albury Local Government Area, Albury City Council has developed its On-site Sewage Management Plan in line with NSW Office of Local Government regulatory reforms (1998).

If your house is not connected to the reticulated sewer network, you may have an on-site sewage management system to process and treat the wastewater generated from your household or business.

  • Function of an OSSM keyboard_arrow_right

    The function of an OSSM system is to collect, contain, treat, and process wastewater in a sustainable manner to:

    1. protect public and environmental health
    2. protect surface and ground water
    3. protect land and vegetation
    4. maintain and enhance community amenity
    5. protect and conserve resources

    Onsite sewage management systems act like a small-scale sewage treatment plant that works to treat wastewater and. If the system is incorrectly maintained or overworked they may fail and cause environmental and public health concerns.

  • Public Health Risks keyboard_arrow_right

    Public health risks relating to untreated (or poorly treated) sewage include exposure to harmful microorganisms such as:

    • Bacterial: Salmonella, E.coli, Shigella, Diarrhoea, Trachoma. Leptospirosis
    • Viral: Gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A. Encephalitis
    • Parasitic: Giardia, Cryptosporidiosis, Dwarf Tapeworm, Threadworm, Hookworm.
    • Odour
    • Wastewater pooling: (Whether treated or not) in their ordinary activities on the premises concerned
    • Adverse impacts: the minimisation of any adverse impacts on the amenity of the premises and surrounding lands
  • In protecting public health and the environment, the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 specifies that an OSSM system must be operated in accordance with the following performance standards.

    • The prevention of the:
      • spread of disease micro-organisms
      • spread of foul odours
      • contamination of water
      • degradation of soil and vegetation
    • The discouragement of insects and vermin
    • Ensuring that persons do not come in contact with untreated sewage or effluent (whether treated or not) in their ordinary activities on the premises concerned
    • The minimisation of any adverse impacts on the amenity of the premises and surrounding lands

Types of On-Site Sewage Management systems

The OSSM Plan relates to all OSSM systems including public, residential, industrial, and commercial systems that are not connected to the Council sewer network. Albury City Council will carry out operational inspections on these types of systems.

  • Septic tanks with:

    • evapotranspiration beds, absorption trenches
    • sand filter and/or constructed wetland/reed bed with sub-surface application system
    • soil mound system
    • pump-out well

    Aerated wastewater treatment systems (AWTS)

    Wet composting toilet with:

    • sand filter
    • wetland/reed bed with sub-surface application system

    Waterless composting toilet

    • Grey water treatment systems
    • Commercial or package plant systems

Any other NSW Health approved system that stores, treats and/or disposes of sewage and/or wastewater on-site.

  • Decommissioning keyboard_arrow_right

    Decommissioning of OSSM systems will be required when:

    • The property is connected to reticulated sewer, or
    • An old OSSM system is replaced with a new one

    In these instances, the owner is required to contact Council regarding decommissioning of the system. The owner must decommission the system in accordance with Council’s requirements to prevent any future safety, environmental or public health risks. Council can provide information on the steps that need to be followed to decommission an OSSM system.

  • All properties with existing OSSM systems within AlburyCity LGA will receive a risk assessment rating evaluation to identify site features and constraints. Properties will be allocated a risk level of either high, medium, or low depending on the potential public health or environmental risks. The main considerations in determining risk include:

    • Location and size of the land
    • Drinking water catchment areas
    • Groundwater bores on-site or nearby
    • Permanent and intermittent surface waterways and stormwater drainage channels
    • Effluent land application method
    • Commercial and public businesses
    • System design, condition and observed performance
    • The amount of wastewater generated
    • Soil type
    • Vegetation coverage
    • Slope of the land
    • Distance to watercourses, drains and property boundaries
    • Surface or subsurface discharge of effluent, and
    • Risk of flooding

    Based on site features and constraints, a risk rating will be issued for your system and will determine inspection frequency and approval to operate period.

  • If you are experiencing problems with the operation of an OSSM system on a property within AlburyCity's Local Government area, you are encouraged to approach Council with your concerns or for further information.

    Council encourages you to attempt to resolve the issue through appropriate methods (such as consulting your regular servicing agent). If this is unsuccessful, please contact Council.

    Council will respond to your complaint, keeping your details confidential. Complaints about contamination of surface water or spray drift should be reported to Council urgently. Complaints about odour problems are also investigated, since this may be an early sign of mismanagement or system failure.

    In circumstances where a complaint is received for an OSSM system, Council will respond and investigate in accordance with Council’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Compliance Priorities Program.