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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Construction > Building and plumbing > Plumbing and drainage > On-site sewage facilities

On-site sewage facilities

On-site sewage facilities are used for the treatment of domestic sewage on premises in unsewered areas.

An on-site sewage facility is a facility on a premises for treating, storing and disposing of sewage generated on the premises. An on-site sewage facility may include:
  • an on-site sewage treatment plant, which uses mechanical, biological and filtration methods to treat waste before discharging through either above or below ground irrigation systems; or
  • a septic system, which uses biological methods to treat waste before discharging through a below ground system.
An on-site sewage facility does not include a dry-vault toilet that is not a chemical, composting or incinerating toilet.

For homeowners

To install an on-site sewage treatment facility, including a septic system or an on-site sewage treatment plant, you must first get approval from your local government.
In addition to local government approval, on-site sewage treatment plants must also have obtained treatment plant approval in accordance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.
A septic system does not require treatment plant approval as it is not an on-site sewage treatment plant.
If the facility does not have the required approvals it cannot be installed in Queensland.

For manufacturers

Chief executive approvals for on-site sewage treatment plants to treat sewage from fewer than 21 equivalent persons are issued by the Department of Housing and Public Works. Systems treating sewage from equal to or greater than 21 equivalent persons require a licence from the Department of Environment and Science​.
The Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code (PDF, 1.1MB) and AS1546.3:2017, state the performance requirements and criteria used to assess on-site sewage treatment and greywater treatment facilities.

Approved systems

The department approves wastewater treatment systems to varying qualities such as:

The department provides a register of greywater diversion devices that have been approved by the WaterMark Certification Scheme.

View information about composting treatment systems.​

Last updated 29 July 2019    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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