On-site sewage facilities

An on-site sewage facility (OSF) is any system that stores, treats and disposes of household wastewater and sewage on a property in an unsewered area. Poorly sited or maintained on-site sewage facilities can impact public health and the environment. 

Prior to installing an on-site sewage facility approval must be obtained from Brisbane City Council and all on-site sewage treatment plants must have a current chief executive approval. Septic systems do not require chief executive approval.

The types of facilities that may be installed are:

  • septic tank
  • secondary or higher treatment plant (aerobic wastewater treatment systems)
  • composting toilet.

A list of the approved treatment systems is available from the Queensland Government website.

Legislative requirements

State plumbing legislation sets out the requirements for the following parties.

Property owner

Responsible for ensuring their on-site sewage facility is maintained and operates in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements and any conditions set by Council.

Treatment plant service agents

Responsible for providing Council and the property owner with the results of any servicing carried out.


Responsible for maintaining a register of all the service reports received for on-site sewage facilities.

Maintenance responsibilities

The maintenance requirements of on-site sewage facilities depends on the type of treatment method.

Septic tanks

Council recommends that septic tanks are pumped out every 3-5 years to ensure they continue to operate effectively. A local contractor can be found by searching for “Septic tank pump-out” via the internet.

Secondary or higher treatment plants

Licensed service agents should be engaged to service and monitor the performance of the plant. To understand what is involved in maintaining the plant, contact the manufacturer or a licensed service agent. A local service agent can be found by searching for “wastewater service agent” via the internet.

Council will contact property owners and service agents if a service report has not been received within the usual service intervals.

Penalties apply for failure to maintain an on-site sewage facility.

Service report lodgement options

The service reports may be lodged in one of the following ways:

  • by email
  • by mail to Locked Bag 1 Fairfield Gardens, Fairfield Qld 4103.

More information

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Find out more about plumbing and drainage by phoning Council on 07 3403 8888 for residential customers, or 133 BNE (133 263) for business customers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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