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Buying an unsewered property

Many properties in the Southern Grampians Shire are not connected to a reticulated sewerage system and have a septic tank system installed. Purchasing a property in an unsewered area might be new to some home owners and prospective buyers who are accustomed to their sewerage services being provided by a Water Authority.

It is important when purchasing a property that you know whether it is connected to a reticulated sewerage system or a septic tank system.

An onsite wastewater management system is commonly referred to as septic or a septic tank system. A septic tank system treats all of the wastewater generated from the dwelling and disposes of or re-uses the treated wastewater onsite, within the property boundaries.

Prospective buyers should first ask whether the property is connected to the reticulated sewerage system or if it has a septic tank system. If the property is not connected to the reticulated sewerage system, we recommend that you request documentation from the vendor about the septic tank system.

Documents to request before purchasing a property include:

  • Permit to Install a Septic Tank System
  • Certificate to Use a Septic Tank System
  • Any approved or stamped plan showing the approved location of the septic tank system and effluent disposal area

A property with a septic tank system requires a Permit to Install and a Certificate to Use issued by Council before the system is used or a Certificate of Occupancy is issued by a Building Surveyor. The Permit to Install provides conditions about the type and use of the system approved for the dwelling. An approved plan will show the septic tank location and the effluent disposal area. In some circumstances, owners of septic tank systems have illegally altered their systems without the relevant permits. If you purchase a property without checking or requesting the documentation of the septic tank system and Council finds the system has been altered from its approved certificates, the responsibility sits with the current owner at the time of investigation, who will be required to either to upgrade or return the system to its approved state.

If you have any further questions, please contact Council’s Environmental Health Department.

Environmental Health Department
1 Market Place
Hamilton Vic 3300
Phone (03) 5573 0256

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