Article Category - Property and Conveyancing By Aaron Strickland, Lauren O'Brien 18 April 2019

The Local Government Act 1993 provides that operation of an On Site Sewage Management System (OSSMS) requires the approval of local council. 

What this means for you, is if you own or are looking to buy a property that is not connected to the town sewer, you will need to apply for approval with your local council to install or operate an OSSMS.

Approvals to operate are issued for a set term, according to the risk classification for the OSSMS in place: 2 years for high risk systems, 4 for medium and 6 for low risk.

Unlike development approvals, an approval to operate an OSSMS does not flow with the land - it is personal to the owners of the property.  On purchase of a property the new owners will need to apply to council for approval to operate the OSSMS.  If your application is made to council within three months of settlement, the approval fee is $55*.  If your application is made after the three month window, council will attend to inspect the OSSMS and charge a fee of $209*.

Key questions for property owners with an OSSMS to consider:

  • Do you have approval to operate your OSSMS?
  • Do you need to apply or reapply to council?
  • What type of OSSMS do you have?
  • Have you complied with the local council Onsite Sewage Management Plan as regards maintenance, monitoring and inspection?
  • If you are thinking of selling your property, discuss with your legal representatives if you have an approval to operate, or if you need to apply for approval.
  • If you are buying a property with an OSSMS, have all terms of the approval to operate been met, e.g. maintenance and monitoring, and is the approval current?

Bathurst Regional Council’s Onsite Sewage Management Plan can be accessed online at *Bathurst Regional Council’s fees as at April 2019.

If you have any questions about the OSSMS approval to operate process, give our Property Law team a call in Bathurst, Lithgow or Oberon on 1800 650 656. We’re here to help!

Aaron Strickland and Lauren O’Brien | Business Law and Property Team