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 30,000 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 un0sewered 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

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

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 

Nepean Peninsula

The Shire’s Nepean Peninsula, which includes all land west of Truemans Road, has highly permeable soils. Groundwater in this area has been contaminated by bacteria from septic tank systems.  South East Water recently completed the roll out of the Southern Peninsula Sewerage Scheme. This includes the townships of Rye, Blairgowrie, Portsea, St Andrews Beach, Tootgarook and Sorrento.

This scheme includes an Early Connection Option (ECO) for property owners to connect to the sewer system earlier. For further information contact South East Water on 1800 720 613 or visit Better Connected.

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).

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 winter:

  • 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. Don’t always assume pooling water is from heavy rainfall.
  • Think before you flush, wash or spray. We cook and prepare food differently in our homes in winter. Remember never dispose of fats or oils into your septic system. 

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.

Septic Tank Systems - fact files and news

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

Latest News:

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