There is a misconception that septic tanks only need to be pumped when there is a blockage.

A black water septic system in the township of Branxholme

Regional Southern Grampians Septic Program

Southern Grampians Shire Council

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Project Overview

In 2013, Southern Grampians Shire Council commenced an inspection program to determine the status of septic systems within the Shire’s six unsewered townships. The program was initiated after the Council’s Domestic Wastewater Management Plan (2006) identified extensive wastewater issues across the Shire, which to be managed effectively, required information about individual septic systems.

The main objectives of the program are to:

  • Address community concerns about environmental pollution and public health hazards posed by poorly functioning systems and discharge of effluent and greywater from properties.
  • Develop an understanding of the locations, condition and use of many of the aged septic systems.
  • Provide community members with education and advice about the maintenance and up-keep of onsite domestic
    wastewater management systems.
  • Evaluate the current and potential environmental and public health risks posed by onsite septic systems.
  • Determine what interventions should be implemented to address the extensive issues associated with with septic systems across the Shire and include these in the updated Council Domestic Wastewater Management Plan.

Key messages

  • Community education builds the capacity of residents and businesses to manage their septic systems.
  • Despite a lack of maintenance, most township septic systems only require minor repairs to function compliantly.
  • Septic systems beyond their life expectancy can continue to function compliantly with maintenance and monitoring.
  • Agencies need to work collaboratively to better resource and manage septic systems and achieve environmental, liveability and public health benefits.


Southern Grampians Shire Council, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Southern Rural Water, and the
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are involved in the program. Consultants were engaged
to undertake the first inspection in Branxholme, which was part of a broader wastewater feasibility study. Since then all
inspections have been completed in-house by Council.

Project Cost



The program commenced in 2013 and is ongoing.


Pauline Porter
Environmental Health Coordinator,
Southern Grampians Shire Council
1 Market Place, Hamilton VIC 3300
P: (03) 5573 0256