• Site wide emergency announcement. Site wide emergency resolved announcement. Site wide generic announcement.

    We’re continuing to deliver and support our community during the COVID-19 health crisis. For information and advice click here.

Main Content Anchor

Approvals to install/alter or operate an on-site sewage management system

If you own a property or are thinking of buying a property with an on-site sewage management system, you must have an Approval to Operate the system. These are issued by Council and are automatically renewed every year through a charge on the rates notice. 

For an approval to be issued, these site characteristics will determine the most appropriate type of on-site sewage management system for your land:

  • soil type,
  • soil depth,
  • slope,
  • proximity to water
  • water balance 

There are several approvals types for On-site Sewage Management Systems. These are:

  • Approval to install - required for installation of a new system.
  • Approval to alter - required for changes to an existing system that is not minor maintenance or servicing.
  • Approval to operate - required for approval to use the system. New owners must apply within 3 months of property transfer.

Apply to install or alter an on-site sewage management system

Follow these steps to make your application to install or alter an on-site sewage management system on your property:


Get a fee quote by emailing dev.quotes@pmhc.nsw.gov.au or calling 6581 8111. 


Refer to our page "External Consultant Reports to accompany your OSM application" and provide the supporting documents, generally:

 a.  Geotechnical wastewater report

b.   Site Plan

c.   Details of system to be installed.


Complete a Building and Planning Application Form (DE1).  Lodgement options are:

 a.  Bring your quote into Council, pay fees and submit application form and supporting documents on a disk or USB at the same time.

- OR -

b.   Bring your quote into Council, pay fees and wait for Council’s email with instructions on how to upload your documents via a OneDrive folder.

- OR -

c.   Contact Councils Customer Service centre on 6581 8111 and pay over the phone then wait for Council’s email with instructions on how to upload your documents via a OneDrive folder. 


Your application will be acknowledged and you will receive your application number (for example: SD2014 - 123) and assessing officer details.


Council will make a determination on your application.

Steps to install the on-site sewage management system

  1. Following Approval, complete the Notice of Works (DE6804) form and submit to Council before any works commence on the installation.
  2. Your conditions of consent and Council’s On-site Sewage Management Technical Installation Guidelines will guide you in the installation process.
  3. Inspections are required at certain stages of the installation process. Refer to the conditions of consent in your approval on when these inspections need to take place. Inspections can be made by calling 6581 8111 or emailing dev.inspections@pmhc.nsw.gov.au.
  4. Once installed, your plumber must complete the Certificate of Works Compliance with Technical Standards (DE6801) form and the Works as Executed (WAX) plan and submit these to Council.

A final inspection will occur and then a certificate of completion and approval to operate will be issued. Note: The system cannot be used before a Certificate of Completion has been issued. 

Apply for an Approval to Operate an on-site sewage management system for new owners 

A new owner has three months to apply for an approval to operate to be issued in their name. The approval is to use the on-site system and to dispose of the effluent as approved. Once the approval to operate is transferred to the new owners, it is automatically renewed every year through the rates notice.

To apply for an approval to operate:

  1. Complete the Approval to Operate a Sewage Management System application form (DE6802) and lodge with your fee to Council.  Once your application has been received, one of Council’s Environmental Health Officers will call to arrange an inspection.

Applications can be lodged in the following ways:

  • In person at any one of our branch offices located in Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Wauchope.
  • Emailing your application to council@pmhc.nsw.gov.au and calling 6581 8111 to make payment over the phone using your credit card. (Credit card surcharges apply)
  • By mailing your application along with a cheque to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, PO Box 84, Port Macquarie NSW 2444

Decommissioning of old systems

When you connect to Council's sewer network or install a new sewage system you will need to decommission the old one. NSW Ministry of Health has guidelines on the options to decommission a system. Refer to the NSW Healths' Advisory note 3. 


This page was last updated on: 13 November 2019