Wastewater collection for large developments and towns

Communities or developers may choose to install collection, treatment and recycled water systems that service the following as an alternative to each property owner treating and disposing of wastewater on-site (within property boundaries):

  • whole towns
  • a cluster of premises
  • tourist developments
  • new subdivisions
  • developments on Aboriginal lands

Community Wastewater Management Systems

Community Wastewater Management Systems (CWMS) collect, treat and recycle wastewater from each property using a common network. They can include:

  • gravity sewerage systems
  • pressure sewerage systems
  • vacuum sewerage systems
  • septic tank effluent drainage schemes (STEDS)

Treatment methods

The extent of treatment provided by the system must be suitable for the safe use or reuse of the recycled water. Treatment methods may include (but are not limited to):

  • activated sludge
  • extended aeration
  • intermittently aerated/decanted systems

Approval for the installation of a CWMS

Approval must be obtained before a CWMS is installed. This includes extensions to existing schemes.

Applications are made by completing the Application for wastewater systems and recycled water schemes for towns, subdivisions and communities (PDF 45KB) form and submitting to SA Health’s Wastewater Management Section. For recycled water applications only, please use the Application form for restricted irrigation (PDF 498KB).

We recommend that you discuss the proposed installation with Department officers in the early stages of planning a development. There may be important design considerations that need to be identified before planning decisions are made.

Refer to the Community Wastewater Management Systems Code (PDF 111KB) for information on application and approval requirements.

The South Australian CWMS Design Criteria (LGA, DHW) (PDF 840KB) can be used for all types of CWMS including Septic Tank Effluent Drainage Systems (STEDS),  sewerage systems, pressure sewerage systems, and vacuum sewerage systems. The document replaces the Septic Tank Effluent Drainage Scheme (STEDS) Design Criteria. Designers and Water Industry Entities may choose to adopt the South Australian CWMS Design Criteria, noting that if the document is not adopted, Water Services Association of Australia Codes (and any relevant supplements) still apply. Designers and Water Industry Entities should also note that the CWMS Design Criteria is the only code available for STEDS design.

The document has been jointly prepared by the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) and the Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW).

Recycled Water Guidelines

The South Australian Recycled Water Guidelines provide advice on how to obtain licences and approvals for recycled water schemes in South Australia. The Guidelines replace the rescinded South Australian Reclaimed Water Guidelines 1999.

The Guidelines use the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling, as the scientific reference for the supply, use and regulation of recycled water. The Guidelines also contain recycled water process information which was previously available in the Reclaimed Water Guidelines.

Recycle Water Schemes

The use of recycled water schemes in towns and large developments requires approval before a recycled water scheme is installed. Applications are made by completing the Application form for restricted irrigation (PDF 498KB) form and submitting to SA Health’s Wastewater Management Section.

Application fees apply. Contact SA Health’s Wastewater Management Section for the current fee.

A Recycled Water Schemes: information for applicants (PDF 199KB) guide has been produced to advise you of the:

  • application process and requirements, in particular for high quality recycled water schemes
  • recycled water legislation and guidelines

Compliance requirements

All applicants must make sure they comply with the approval requirements of other government agencies. Compliance with other agency requirements is separate from the SA Health’s approval process and include:

Incident notification

Wastewater incidents must be reported to the Department for Health and Wellbeing by completing the Community Wastewater Management System Incident Notification Form (PDF 510KB).

Annual reports

Suppliers of recycled water must undertake water quality testing and submit their results to DHA each year. The requirement for annual reporting is summarised in the Explanatory Note - Annual Reporting Requirements for Recycled Water Schemes (PDF 65KB).

This explanatory note has been developed as part of a joint project between South Australia’s five water industry regulators:

  • Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR)
  • South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
  • HA
  • Department of Environment and Water (DEW)
  • Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA).