Effluent Disposal


All buildings that produce wastewater are required to connect to either the main sewer or an effluent disposal system.

Where main sewer is available it is a requirement that any new buildings are connected and you can contact the Water Corporation for further information on 13 13 95.

In areas where main sewer is not available an effluent disposal system needs to be installed. There are a variety of systems available which range from conventional septic systems (tanks and leach drains), Aerobic Treatment Units known as ATU’s and Greywater re-use systems. Whichever system is used it must have approval for use by the Department of Health WA.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right type of system for a property and this might include; whether there is adequate space to accommodate the system, the location and distance of water bodies, the depth to groundwater, along with a number of other requirements that are set out in the relevant Guidance leaflets at the bottom of this page. There may also be specific requirements placed on a property indicating the type of system required and its location, which can sometimes be found on your certificate of title or by contacting the City.

The City's Health Service is responsible for assessing and approving applications for on-site effluent disposal systems.  An application form must be submitted, ensuring that all required information is provided on a scale plan such as; location of buildings, boundaries, bores, subsoil drains, water bodies and preferred location of the system. See the relevant Guideline leaflets (below) which detail the information required for each type of system.

Once the application form has been received, the site and system will be assessed for suitability and to ensure that all requirements are met prior to issuing an Approval to Construct. Please note it may sometimes be necessary to request further information, require a test hole to be dug to check for groundwater or even a geotechnical report. Some applications also require Department of Health Approval and where this is the case we will forward the application onto them. Separate fee applies - refer to application form.

Once the system has been installed the installer will need to contact Health Services for a final inspection to be undertaken. If the system has been appropriately installed and complies with the conditions of approval a Permit to Use will be issued. Please note it is an offence to occupy a house or use a system without a Permit to Use having been issued.

Please refer to the links below for further information or click here to visit the Department of Health’s Wastewater Management webpage.

Application to Construct or Install an Apparatus for the Treatment of Sewage

Conventional Septic Systems

Conventional systems generally incorporate 2 septic tanks and 2 leach drains although there are some systems with a single baffled tank. 

Understanding Septic Tank Systems

Guidelines on Submitting an Application for Septic Tanks and Leach Drains

 DOH Approved Systems 

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU’s)

The system incorporates a tank or series of tanks which treats the waste and disposes of the resultant treated effluent via an irrigation field or sometimes, leach drains.

Understanding ATU’s

Guidelines on Submitting an Application for an ATU

Guidelines for ATU owners

Approved ATU systems 

Approved ATU Service Agents

Greywater Re-Use Systems

These systems treat wastewater from bathrooms and laundries to enable it to be re-used to water gardens.

Guidelines on Submitting an Application for a Greywater System

Guidelines for Greywater Use

DOH Approved Greywater Systems 

Decommissioning septic systems

Decommissioning Requirements for Septic Tanks and Leach Drains

Statutory Declaration Template

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