On-Site Sewage Management

OSSM Strategy and Guidelines

The OSSM Strategy provides information on how the OSSM Program will be operated, key objectives and how to obtain approval to install or operate an OSSM system. If you intend to install, alter or construct and OSSM system then please refer to the OSSM Guidelines for essential information for OSSM designers, plumbers and drainers (installers) and OSSM homeowners.

On-Site Sewage Management Systems (OSSMS) are required in all non-sewered areas. There are over 4,000 OSSMS installed in Ballina Shire.

OSSMS include septics, aerated wastewater treatment systems, composting toilets, reedbeds, sand filters, biological filters, membrane reactors and greywater systems.

These systems treat wastewater from premises before applying the effluent to land. Effluent land applications include absorption/evaporation beds or subsurface irrigation.

Forms and Checklists

  • OSSM Design Producer Statement (pdf)
    This On-Site Sewage Management (OSSM) Design Producer Statement form is to be submitted to Council’s Planning and Environmental Health Division, when deemed necessary by Council, for new or upgraded works related to an OSSM system.
  • OSSM Installation and Minor Alterations Certification Form (pdf)
    This Installation & Minor Alterations Certification Form is to be submitted to Council's Planning and Environmental Health Division for the purposes of certifying any minor alterations to the approval to install for new or upgraded works related to an On-Site Sewage Management Systems (OSSMS).  This form verifies that the OSSM designer has approved the minor alterations.  Any alterations to the approved installation that are not of a minor nature will require an amended application to be lodged with Council.  Examples of minor alterations include - change from reln trenching to slotted pipe, change from distribution box to indexing valve, change of manufacturer from one secondary treatment system to another equivalent, minor relocation of effluent land application area.  Contact the Development and Environmental Health Group for clarification to determine if your situation is a minor alteration.
  • OSSM Compliance and Commissioning Certification Form (pdf)
    This form is to be used for all new & upgraded OSSMS installations. The certification form is to be filled out by the installer of the OSSMS and must be inclusive of the effluent land application arrangements.
  • Notice of Work and Certificate of Compliance for Plumbing and Drainage Work (pdf)
  • OSSM Application to Install, Construct or Alter - Section 68 Application 

Application for Approval to Operate (ATO) and OSSM Inspection Checklists

The checklist and the Approval to Operate (ATO) application form are to be completed and submitted to Council once a suitably qualified person (ie NSW licenced plumber and drainer) has been engaged and inspected their On-Site Sewage Management Systems (OSSMS) prior to the expiry date of the ATO certificate. Please note the checklists can only be completed by a NSW licenced plumber and drainer. For homeowners with Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS), the most recent service report can be submitted to Council with an ‘Approval to Operate – Renewal Form (Section 68)’ to obtain an ATO certificate. 

These checklists can also be submitted on behalf of the property owner who may be wishing to sell their property. New homeowners must apply for an Approval to Operate certificate to Council within two months of the date of property transfer. This will require the submission of an “Approval to Operate Renewal Form (Section 68)” and an inspection checklist report or AWTS service report.

OSSM Suitably Qualified Person

  • OSSM Suitably Qualified Person Application Form (pdf)
    If you intend to conduct site and soil assessments, design OSSM systems and/or service Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS) within the Ballina Shire then you are required to be a suitably qualified person. Complete the application form and submit to Council with supporting documentation.

List of Suitably Qualified People

OSSM Owner Education Booklet

The OSSM owner educational booklet provides information for existing and future OSSM owners on the fundamentals on how to choose an OSSM system, how it works and how to maintain the system. 


These factsheets will assist the homeowner, wastewater consultant, plumber & drainer to design, install and maintain the On-Site Sewage Management Systems (OSSMS).

OSSM Desktop Study Information

Groundwater Bores Location

To check for the location of the nearest licensed groundwater bores click on the link below to take you to the NSW Waterinfo website:

Drinking Water Catchment Areas - Application Process

To check if a property is within the Drinking Water Catchment Area of the Shire:

  1. Firstly click on the “Overview Map “ to determine where the Drinking Water Catchment Areas are located.
  2. Then select the particular Drinking Water Catchment Map that is closest to where your property is located, for confirmation.
  3. If the property is within the Drinking Water Catchment Area then refer to the Rous Water On-Site Wastewater Management Guidelines for application requirements.

Drinking Water Catchment Maps

Note:  There are four drinking water bore sites within the Shire with a 250m radius catchment protection zone around each bore.  If your property is located within this protection zone and you intend to install a new or upgrade an existing OSSM system then please contact Council to determine the application requirements.

Contact Council's Development and Environmental Health Group if you need further clarification.

Priority Oyster Aquaculture Areas

If you are intending to upgrade or install a new OSSM system, in close proximity to the Richmond River or tributary stream, then you must determine if the property is within the Priority Oyster Aquaculture Area zone of influence.  When a property is within this zone of influence then further OSSM design specifications may be required to ensure that there are no impacts on the Priority Oyster Aquaculture Areas.

The OSSM consultant is to refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fishing and Aquaculture website for the NSW Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy and Priority Oyster Aquaculture Area Maps.

The following facts sheets have been created to assist OSSM consultants:

Flood Level Maps

To obtain the 1:20, 1:50 & 1:100 ARI flood level readings for the flood plain region of Ballina Shire Council then please refer to the maps included in the document below. (Click on the link)

Soil Factsheets

The information in these soil factsheets are general in advice and have been obtained from the Victorian Resources Online website, Department of Primary Industries Victoria.  © State of Victoria, Department of Primary Industries 2012 (reproduced with permission).  This information may be of assistance when preparing reports involving soil assessments on properties where it is proposed to install On-Site Sewage Management Systems (OSSMS).

Additional Information and Publications


Connect with us

Postal Address

The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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