Septic systems

Septic tank pit in the lawn

Apply to install or alter a septic system

Septic systems are used to remove, contain and treat waste. If your property cannot connect to a sewage system, you will need a septic system. 

You need a permit to install or alter a septic system.

Apply for a septic system permit

Assessment of application and inspections are included in the application fee.

If you need to alter your application after it has been approved, you will need to apply for a public health assessment and approval of your changes. Fees may apply. 

Minor changes such as change of plumber or other minor adjustments, will need to be put in writing with new plans.

Major changes will require a new application to install or alter a septic system form.

New owners need to re-apply if septic system installation is not completed at time of purchase.


Other Requests

Download and return the relevant request form for:  

For more information, please visit:

If you have a septic, you have legal responsibilities

If you own or use an onsite wastewater management system, there are laws that apply to you. You must:

  • Operate the system correctly and not overload it
  • Make sure the system does not overflow
  • Notify Yarra Ranges Council if there is a problem with the system
  • Maintain the system in good working order (this does not apply to renters)

If you're a landowner, it's recommended you get your system serviced regularly. You must also provide information to renters about how to use your system.


New sewerage services

Yarra Valley Water is currently installing approximately 4,500 new sewerage connections in the Dandenong Ranges and parts of Lilydale under their Community Sewerage Program.

To find out if your property is serviced under the program, visit

Reasons to switch include:

  • It helps to improve your local environment
  • It gives you peace of mind and convenience
  • It improves your home

For more information about the program, visit, contact or watch the below video.


Septic Maintenance

If your home has a septic system it is your responsibility to make sure it is well-maintained and works effectively. A well maintained system will safeguard your family's health, protect the environment and neighbouring properties. 

Make sure:

  • You know the location and performance of your septic system

  • Your septic tank is cleaned at least every three years

  • Regularly check treatment plant services, sand filter and effluent disposal system

  • Effluent disposal area is protected from livestock and vehicles

  • Fats, high nutrient detergents and sanitary products do not enter the system

  • Water saving devices and water conservation measures are used where possible

  • If selling your property, that the new owners are provided with septic details

Decommissioning Septic Tanks

If you no longer need a septic tank, the septic tank must be removed from the ground and back filled or decommissioned. 

Any works to remove a septic tank must be done by a licensed plumber. 

After the works to decommission the septic tank system are finished, a copy of the compliance certificate must be sent to Council as verification.

While Council is responsible for ensuring wastewater systems are compliant with the Environment Protection Act and Regulations, including the Code of Practice for Onsite Wastewater Systems, we are unable to oversee the decommissioning of septic systems. 

If you have any questions or concerns you should speak with your licenced plumber or contact the Victorian Building Authority.


Septic tank discharges

We have over 22,000 properties that rely on a septic tank system to treat household wastewater.

If you have a septic tank on your property, you may be thinking ‘my septic is fine!’ 

The truth is, many septics aren’t ‘fine’. Old and unmaintained septic systems don’t always show any signs of failing. Wastewater can leak out of tanks, through the ground and into your neighbour’s yard and local waterways – or flow directly into the drain in the street without being treated at all! 

Why septic systems fail 

Did you know most properties in Melbourne can’t manage wastewater using onsite treatment systems? Onsite wastewater treatment systems are only effective on large, flat properties with suitable soil. 

Most properties in Melbourne are too small to contain wastewater onsite, too hilly, have high clay soil levels or water-resistant rock layers. Or they use ‘split systems’ which allow untreated greywater to flow into the stormwater drainage system, ending up in local waterways. 

The ‘split system’: the most common polluter 

Many properties in Melbourne have this old type of septic system. Only toilet wastewater goes to the septic tank. Other wastewater from the kitchen, shower and laundry flows through a separate pipe directly to the gutter outside the property and into our stormwater system. This untreated greywater ends up in local waterways. 

If you have a query about septic tank discharges contact our Health Services Department on 1300 368 333.