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Plumbing and Onsite Sewage Management Approvals

If you're planning any plumbing works as part of your development you'll most likely need a plumbing approval.

A plumbing approval is required to carry out water, sewerage and stormwater works to a property and must be obtained before a plumber starts work on any job.

Application process

You can apply for a plumbing approval online via the NSW Planning Portal or download and complete the Plumbing Works Application form and lodge and pay application fees at our Kiewa Street office, or email the form and supporting documents to

Documents you'll need to provide with your application:

  • Site plan - indicating all levels, existing structures and vegetation
  • BASIX certificate - where relevant
  • Floor plan - existing and proposed works shown separately
  • Hydraulic design - for larger commercial projects

Applications are generally processed and issued within 5 working days from the date of system lodgement or with the Development Consent where relevant.

Before any plumbing works are started, you'll need to submit a Notice of Work at least 2 working days prior.

A Sewer Service Diagram and Certificate of Compliance must be submitted to before a final inspection is booked and carried out. This information is required to undertake the inspection.

Please ensure your Plumbing Approval number is included on all documentation.

Onsite Sewage Management Systems – Approval Process

The approval process for an Onsite Sewage Management (OSSM) System establishes an accountability relationship between the property owner and Council. This will help ensure property owners are aware of the maintenance and operating requirements of their system.

There are two separate applications for OSSM approval, these are:

  1. An approval to install, construct or alter an OSSM system; and
  2. An approval to operate an OSSM system.
Approval to Install

Under section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993, an approval to Install, Construct or Alter an On-Site Sewage Management System is required from Council. If you are installing a new system you may apply online via the NSW Planning Portal or complete the Onsite Sewer Management System Application form to obtain an approval from Council prior to commencing works. If you are not using the NSW Planning Portal for lodgement, you can lodged and pay for your application at our Kiewa Street office, or email it to

For an application to install, construct or alter for a new dwelling, the following information is required to be submitted with the application:

  • Site Constraints Plan - to scale detailing the location of the proposed system and its land application area. All buffer distances to all waterways, dams, buildings and driveways, swimming pools, water storage tanks and property boundaries must be shown
  • Drainage Diagram - to scale in accordance with National Plumbing & Drainage Plumbing Code AS/NZS 3500
  • Floor Plan - of any building connected to the sewage management system
  • Manufacturer’s Specifications - for the proposed OSSM system
  • NSW Health Approval - Provide a copy of NSW Health approval for proposed system
  • Land Capability Assessment Report - for wastewater disposal conducted by a suitably qualified person and demonstrate compliance with AS1547 and NSW Environment & Health Protection Guidelines, and
  • Operations and Maintenance - details of the operation and maintenance requirements for the sewage treatment facility and the proposed operation, maintenance and servicing arrangements.

A Land Capability Assessment Report includes a percolation test and geotechnical report. A percolation test tests for the permeability of the soil to accept wastewater. It assists in determining the length of the absorption trenches for disposal of wastewater. The Geotechnical report investigates the subsurface soil profile and groundwater characteristics. It interprets this information to provide engineering recommendations for system design based on the type of soil profile and groundwater characteristics.

If the size of the property where the new system is proposed to be installed is less than 20,000m2 (5 acres), the applicant will also need to be able to justify that the system can be installed and effluent effectively applied to the land without any adverse environmental or public health impacts to the occupiers, neighbouring properties and nearby sensitive receptors. This justification is to be supported by a suitably qualified person.

It should be noted that the applicant will need to demonstrate that they have space for primary and reserve disposal areas within the boundary of the site.  If a reserve disposal area cannot be provided within the lot due to limitation of space, a higher level of wastewater treatment (i.e. secondary or advanced) is required to ensure longevity of the disposal area.

It is also recommended that wastewater is alternated into a different sections of the disposal area after each pump cycle (using an indexing valve), thereby allowing each area to have a rest in an unsaturated state for significant periods during the day.

Approval to Operate

Under section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993, an Approval to Operate an On-Site Sewage Management System is required. Albury City Council will require the owner of the property to apply for approval in the following circumstances:

  • For new systems installed – following final inspection by Council to ensure the system is installed and functioning as it is meant to be;
  • For a property that has an existing system that is sold – the new owner may continue to operate the existing system for a period of up to three (3) months but an application to Council must be lodged (by the new owner) within two (2) months of completion of the sale;
  • Modification of current system – if you intent to modify the current system in place, and;
  • Following initial inspection and risk rating by Council – while rolling out this On-Site Sewage Management Plan, Council will initially inspect each system to check compliance with the performance standards and the risk the system poses to the environment and public health. Following the initial inspection, the owner will need to apply for an approval.

An approval to operate will be issued with an expiry date that is commensurate with the risk rating of the system.

It is an offence under the Local Government Act 1993 to undertake work to install/construct or operate an on-site sewage management system without prior written approval from Council.


The cost to provide a plumbing approval, approval to install an OSSM system and approval to Operate and OSSM system can be viewed in our fees and charges.

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