Domestic Wastewater Management Plan for public review

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Council’s Draft Domestic Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) is open for public exhibition from 29 April to 24 June 2022, following Council’s endorsement at this evening’s Council meeting.

The Draft DWMP updates Council’s previous DWMP 2015, and covers all unsewered areas in Colac Otway Shire, particularly:

  • Water catchment areas: Barham River, Barwon Downs, Beech Forest, Carlisle River, Forrest, Gellibrand, Kawarren and Lavers Hill
  • Unsewered localities, townships and settlements outside water catchments: Alvie, Barongarook, Beeac, Coragulac, Cororooke, Cressy, Kennett River, Wye River and Separation Creek

A DWMP is a Council plan that provides the framework for how Council and the community manages its onsite domestic wastewater management systems. Examples of such systems include septic tank systems, treatment plants, worm farm systems and sand filter systems.

The DWMP comprises two key documents, the operational plan and the technical document. The operational plan contains information around the regulatory controls and has an action plan that details what Council intends to do over the coming years. The technical plan explains the risk assessment framework and includes locality reports and sizing tables for various types of effluent disposal applications.

“A review of the DWMP is important in order to continue to protect both public health and the environment from the impacts of domestic wastewater,” said Chief Executive Officer, Anne Howard. “As well as being a regulatory requirement under the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters), having a DWMP provides Council with confidence when assessing Land Capability Reports as part of planning and development applications.”

Through managing the risks associated with onsite wastewater management systems, our DWMP enables Council to continue to allow appropriate development in the declared water catchment areas.

What were the key changes undertaken as part of the review?

  • Updates to new legislation, notably the Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Regulations 2021
  • A review of the onsite wastewater assessment, approval and compliance process
  • An update to Council’s sensitivity mapping ratings as part of the risk assessment framework
  • A review of the audit program in the declared water catchments
  • An update to the DWMP action plan

What does it mean for you?

  • If you have an onsite wastewater management system, this review hopes to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining your onsite wastewater system in order to protect public health and the environment.
  • If your onsite wastewater management system is failing you now have a duty to notify Council of this.
  • If you are planning on building and require an onsite wastewater management system, the assessment and approval process will be in accordance with the current regulations.
  • If you live in the declared water supply catchments, development may be permitted subject to meeting the water authority and Council onsite wastewater management requirements.

To view the Draft Plan, members of the public can see a hard copy at Council’s offices in Colac and Apollo Bay, as well as at the Colac and Apollo Bay libraries, or visit

A number of drop in community information sessions have also been arranged:

  • Forrest: Date TBC
  • Beeac: Thursday 2 June 2022, 4-6pm
  • Beech Forest Hall: Saturday 4 June 2022, 10am-12pm

/Public Release. View in full here.