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Wastewater Management Schemes

Wastewater Management Schemes

What is Wastewater?


Wastewater is used water from household sinks and toilets.

What is the purpose of Wastewater Management Schemes?

Wastewater Management Schemes are a necessity to ensure the appropriate management of sewage and household wastewater safeguarding the health of the community, protecting the environment by ensuring the safe removal and treatment of household wastewater to treatment plants for re-use on community grounds and parklands.

Council, as the regulatory authority under the South Australia Public Health Act 2011, South Australian Public Health (Wastewater) Regulations 2013 and Codes, is responsible to implement wastewater management systems accordingly.

What type of Wastewater Management Systems operate within the Copper Coast?

In summary, properties in the Copper Coast are serviced by, either:

  • Community Systems - Council operated community sewerage systems (eg CWMS/STEDS) or
  • On-site Systems - with a septic tanks.

If a property has access to the Community Scheme (CWMS/STEDS), it is expected that this method be utilised in preference to an on-site system.

The four (4) systems currently in operations are:

  • Community Systems / Off-site Systems

Septic Tank Effluent Disposal Scheme (STEDS) - this system still requires the use of an on-site septic tank. Instead of the wastewater passing to a soakage pit, it is connected to a community sewer system with a wastewater treatment centre.

STEDS is a gravity collection system. Each property is connected to the scheme at a depth which enables property wastewater to flow automatically to pumping stations. The scheme only receives the discharge from the septic tank and/ or grey-water treatment tank on the property. The pumping stations pump the wastewater to the wastewater treatment centre.

The septic tank will require pumping out which Council arranges approximately every four (4) years.

CWMS Full Sewer - This system bypasses the need for a septic tank, whereby the property is directly connected to the community sewer system/wastewater treatment centre.

  • On-site Systems

Septic Tanks - This system holds wastewater on-site outside the household where the household does not have access to a Community System. The septic system consists of a septic tank and drainfield or soakage pit. The wastewater is held in the tank long enough for solids to settle to the bottom, the liquid wastewater then exits the tank into the drainfield. These tanks need to be pumped out every 2-5 years, arranged by the home owner. On-site only systems can degrade the environment and be a health threat to the community.

Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (previously called aerobic systems) - This system is designed to treat wastewater suitable for surface and subsurface irrigation through an approved aerated wastewater treatment system. These systems require a large irrigation area to dispose of the treated effluent on-site and must have quarterly maintenance services by an approved contractor.

Wastewater Treatment Centres

Once effluent has left the property, it is gravity fed to the nearest pump station whereby the sewage is pumped through sewer mains to the wastewater treatment centre. At the wastewater treatment centre, the wastewater enters a series of tanks to microbiology treat the water, and solids are separated from liquids through presses. The treated water then enters ponds for storage to be used on community grounds and parklands. The solids are used as fertiliser.

Do I Need Approval?

Council approval is required prior to undertaking any wastewater development.

A Wastewater Application must be completed and lodged for:

  • New systems
  • Alterations to current systems
  • Additions to current systems - en-suite additions or upgrades
  • Changing the placement of irrigation area.


  • A plumber / builder and the owner will complete the Wastewater application form for new dwellings or alter existing applications.
  • Lodgement fee will need to be paid
  • Submit a site plan and underfloor plans showing plumbing layout
  • Submit wastewater engineers report (where applicable)

Assessment can commence once Planning Approval has been granted and all documentation submitted and fees (including connection fees) have been paid.

Fees and Charges

A fee is payable for each application along with connection fees, please refer to the Fees and Charges 2020 - 2021.

Council has a CWMS Policy to explain the fees and charges (included separate rate charge).

Inspections Required

Inspection will be required as certain stages which is outlined on the approval:

  • Underfloor
  • Drain/Tank
  • Soakage/Final
Applications Form

The Wastewater Application form applies for the rest of the Copper Coast (all new dwellings and alterations)

Use the online Waste Water Application Form to electronically submit your Waste Water Application to Council.

Then attach all relevant plans and details to the New Application File Portal

Printable version of the Waste Water Application Form

When completing your application form, please refer to the application checklist

Further Information

Council has prepared an Information Sheet - Wastewater Management Scheme.

Additional information can be found at SA Health Website:

  • South Australian Public Health Act 2011

  • South Australia Public Health (Wastewater) Regulations 2013

  • SA Health On-site Wastewater Systems Code - April 2013

To obtain further information or to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact our office ph (08) 8828 1200 option 6.