Wastewater and Septic Tank Systems

Wastewater is any water that has been negatively affected in quality by human activity. This can be derived from domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff or stormwater and sewerage.

Domestic wastewater disposal is an important environmental issue on the Mornington Peninsula. There are more than 25,000 properties across the Peninsula without reticulated sewerage, and all of these properties rely on septic tank systems to dispose of their wastewater.

The introduction of the South East Water ECO Sewer Project will greatly reduce the environmental impact of septic tanks on the Nepean Peninsula.  The Shire also has a Wastewater Management Plan to prevent contamination from septic tank systems. 

Under the Environment Protection Act Mornington Peninsula Shire is responsible for the installation and approval of domestic wastewater systems discharging less than 5,000 litres per day in un-sewered areas of the Mornington Peninsula.

A Permit to Install must be obtained from the Shire before commencing alterations or construction of any septic tank system.

The Permit to Install does not allow the septic tank system to be used. The Shire must inspect the system during installation to ensure that it has been installed correctly and complies with the Septic Tanks Code of Practice (EPA Publication 891.4). The system can only be used when the Shire is satisfied that the system has been installed correctly and issues a Permit to Use the system.

Please allow up to 15 working days for the processing of a permit application to alter or install a septic tank system .

For more information on your septic system download: Septic Health - The Facts.

Apply for a permit to construct or alter a septic tank system: 

To apply for a permit to alter or construct a septic tank system submit Septic - Application Form

The current fee is $716

Apply for a search of septic tank plans / location for a property: 

You can apply for the Shire to search for copies of existing septic tank plans and permits to find out where an existing septic tank is located on your property submit.

Septic Search for Plans - Online Application   
Alternatively, download and completed: Septic - Search for Plans. Current fee is $102

Request a final septic tank inspection:

To request a final septic tank inspection prior to use submit Septic - Request for Final Inspection

Illegal use of a septic tank system ie. without a Council permit, may incur an infringement notice of $500. Note, it is also a requirement that a permit to use a septic tank system must be issued prior to a building surveyor issuing a Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Final Inspection, as governed by the Building Act, 1993. 

Installation Requirements of your Septic System

All septic systems installed in the Shire must meet the Shire’s Wastewater Installation Guidelines 

Maintaining your Septic tank system

It is really important to ensure the health of your septic tanks system all year round. A poorly maintained septic system is a health risk to your family, friends, our waterways and the wider community.

For information on installation or maintenance of your septic system see Septic Health - The Facts(PDF, 1MB)

For more educational tools and further advice or information on the function and maintenance of your Septic system contact the Shire's Environment Health Team.

Septic Tank Maintenance and Care over Summer

We encourage an annual health check on your septic system, particularly before busy holiday periods, as a leaking system poses health risks that many of us are not aware of.  Seasonal attention to the care and maintenance of your septic system can prevent environmental problems and save on costly repairs and early replacement. 

Enjoy your garden each summer but just like a well-rehearsed fire plan, protect the health of your family by servicing and having a well-looked after summer-ready, septic system.

Please also note some important tips below:

  •  Never turn off the power to treatment systems, even if the property is not your primary residence. Turning off the power supply can damage pumps and alarms on control panels won’t activate
  • Make sure your gardens are maintained and disposal fields are inspected regularly for damp or soggy areas.
  • Think before you flush, wash or spray. Remember to never dispose of fats or oils into your septic system. Use only small amounts of cleaning product and bleach and only low phosphorus laundry detergents
  • Get to know your system. Check that it is working properly and keep records of your inspections.

Commercial Premises (food, wineries, animal boarding & industrial)

Please contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Team (septics@mornpen.vic.gov.au, P. 5950 1050) or the Environment Protection Authority (P. 1300 372 842 or 1300 EPA VIC) for further information on wastewater disposal for unsewered commercial sites.

Wastewater Projects:

Wastewater Management Plan

In November 2018 Council adopted it's Wastewater Management Plan 2018-2023 to address the environmental and public health risks posed by residential and commercial wastewater on the peninsula. For further information go to Domestic Wastewater Management Plan

Keeping Peninsula waterways clean is everyone’s business

Mornington Peninsula Shire is working together with Melbourne Water and South East Water to help keep local waterways clean and ensure industrial trade waste doesn’t make its way to our local catchments and beaches. For further information go to Prevent Stormwater Pollution

Nepean Peninsula and Early Connection Option Sewer Scheme

The Peninsula ECO Sewerage project has assisted more than 4,700 customers on the southern end of the peninsula connect to sewer since 2014. Customers are choosing to connect for

many reasons including having a healthy home, caring for the local environment and for peace of mind that their wastewater will be correctly managed. Unfortunately many property owners believed that their septic functioned well without any maintenance costs until they discovered problems below the surface. Fast tracking your sewer connection for your own peace of mind has never been easier.

Contact South East Water for more information on how to become better connected:

Visit: South East Water's Be Connected website or call: 1800 720 613 (Rye Office)

The Shire fully supports this scheme and requires all properties to connect to sewer unless a wastewater re-use system is installed that meets Environment Protection Authority sustainable re-use guidelines (EPA Publication 891.4).

Boneo Water Recycling Plant Upgrade

The Peninsula will soon benefit from a $130m investment in new, energy-efficient water treatment and recycling infrastructure as a result of an upgrade to the Boneo Water Recycling Plant. This

will support population growth, protect the local environment and maximise recycled water production for local businesses. It will also support the seasonal spikes in sewage inflows during

the summer months when increased visitors to the region cause a 50 per cent increase in flows to the treatment plant. The work is expected to commence early 2019 and be completed by

early 2021. For more information, visit South East Water website or phone 1800 055 465


Septic Tank Systems - fact files and news

Download further information in our: Septic Tank Systems Fact File(DOC, 52KB)

Latest News:

Waste Water News December 2018.pdf(PDF, 3MB)

South East Water and Mornington Peninsula Shire Septic tank trial(DOCX, 88KB)

WasteWater News 2017(PDF, 5MB)

Peninsula Wide, December 2016, page 11

Southern Peninsula News, 20 December 2016, pg 15

MP News Article - Shire to tack wastewater woes