Wastewater Management

On this page:

On-site Wastewater Management

Local Government Authorities in the Northern Territory have no jurisdiction over the approval of on-site wastewater systems, i.e. septic tank installations.

Conventional septic tank installations are predominantly certified by self-certifying plumbers or designers, though the administrative process is dependent on whether the installation is located within a Building Control Area (urban areas and along main highways) or outside Building Control Areas (i.e. remote areas).

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure administers the provisions of the Buliding Act and the Buliding Regulations with respect to all septic tank installations within Building Control Areas.

Environmental Health administers the provisions of the Public and Environmental Health Act and Regulations with respect to all on-site wastewater systems located outside Building Control Areas, and also processes Notifications & Site-Specific Design Approvals for alternative septic tank systems within Building Control Areas. Environmental Health may also approve conventional septic tank installations, particularly those on grant-funded indigenous housing projects.

Code of Practice

Code of Practice for Small On-Site Sewage and Sullage Treatment Systems and the Disposal or Reuse of Sewage Effluent11 Nov 19967 Dec 2012

The Code of Practice for Small On-site Sewage and Sullage Treatment Systems and the Disposal or Reuse of Sewage Effluent is the design manual for on-site wastewater management in the Northern Territory. This document is also available in hard copy from Environmental Health who can be contacted on (08) 8922 7152.

Application Forms for the Installation of On-site Wastewater Systems

Form NamePublishedNo.

Notification of Self-Certification for the Installation of a Septic Tank outside of a Building Control Area (S2) (Adobe PDF document - 216KB)

This form includes the "Certification of installation of a Septic Tank outside of a Building Control Area" form

Sep 2011S2

Application for Approval to Install a Septic Tank outside of a Building Control Area (S3) ($400) (Adobe PDF document - 206KB)

Sep 2011S3
Notification for the Installation of a Product Approved Alternative Septic Tank System (ASTS) for a single residential dwelling in a Building Control Area (S4) (Adobe PDF document - 45KB)Sep 2011S4
Application for Site Specific Design Approval of an ASTS (S5a) (Adobe PDF document - 334KB) | DOCX (190KB)Feb 2014S5a
Notification of Installation Completion of a Design Approved ASTS (S5b) (Adobe PDF document - 161KB) | DOCX (91KB)Feb 2014S5b
Notification for the Installation of a Ventilated Improved Pit Toilet (S11) (Adobe PDF document - 27KB)Nov 2012S11

Product Approval of an On-site Wastewater System

All on-site wastewater systems require product approval from the Department before marketing, sale or installation in the Northern Territory. Product approval provides authorisation for the sale or use of pre-manufactured products anywhere in the Northern Territory. This is subject to local conditions imposed through site-specific design approvals by the Chief Health Officer.

Pre-manufactured products include septic tanks, aerated wastewater treatment systems (AWTS), greywater reuse systems, composting toilets and biological filter systems.

An application for Product Approval of an on-site wastewater system must be submitted to the Director of Environmental Health. It must be accompanied by the relevant fee and information detailed in the application form.

Application for Product Approval on an On-Site Wastewater System (S1)Mar 2009S1

Register of Product Approved On-site Wastewater Systems

Register NameLast Updated

Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (Adobe PDF document - 22KB)

Jul 2013

Alternative Treatment Systems (Adobe PDF document - 15KB)

Sep 2013

Composting, Hybrid & Incinerating Toilets (Adobe PDF document - 19KB)

Mar 2013
Greywater Diversion DevicesJan 2013
Greywater Treatment Systems (Adobe PDF document - 15KB)Sep 2013
Septic TanksMar 2013
Sewage Ejection Pump Stations (Adobe PDF document - 15KB)Jan 2013

Guidelines for Land Capability Assessment for On-site Wastewater Management

The Department of Health has developed "Guidelines for Land Capability Assessment for On-site Wastewater Management" to assist proponents of unsewered development proposals to:

  • assess the capability of the site to sustainably manage wastewater within allotment boundaries;
  • identify public and environmental health impacts of on-site wastewater management and in particular the effect on groundwater and surface water on sites; and
  • identify management programs to minimise these impacts; in addition to best practice regulation.


LCA Onsite Wastewater Management Guidelines (Adobe PDF document - 1439KB) | DOCX (1381KB)Mar 2014
LCA Guidelines - Gazettal Notice (Adobe PDF document - 290KB)Mar 2014

Recycled Water Systems 

Recycled water is an integral part of ensuring a sustainable water supply in the Northern Territory. With the changes and improvements in technology, the effect of climate change on water resources, population growth and the increasing price of water, future demand for recycled water is expected to rise.

In November 2006, the National Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council and the Australian Health Ministers Conference released the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1).  These guidelines update and replace the National Guidelines for Sewerage Systems - Use of Reclaimed Water 2000 which are currently referenced in Part 5 of the NT Code of Practice for Small On-site Sewage and Sullage Treatment System and the Disposal or Reuse of Sewage Effluent.

The Guidelines for Management of Recycled Water Systems align the principles outlined in the Australian guideline to the DHF approvals process for large recycled water systems that generally service more than 150 EP. The news guidelines provide practical advice, including some examples, for obtaining approval to install and operate a recycled water system in the NT.


Guidelines for Management of Recycled Water Systems

Sep 2011.

Application for Recycled Water System (S6)

Mar 2010S6

Application for Recycled Water Irrigation (S7)

Aug 2009S7

Fact Sheets - Wastewater Management

Decommissioning or Reuse of On-site Wastewater Systems (Adobe PDF document - 58KB)Aug 2011500
Disposal of Septage from On-site Wastewater Systems (Adobe PDF document - 32KB)Aug 2011501
Manual Bucketing & Temporary Diversion of Greywater in Single Domestic Premises (Adobe PDF document - 48KB)Aug 2011502
Permanent Greywater Reuse (Adobe PDF document - 49KB)Aug 2011503
Maintaining an On-site Wastewater System (Adobe PDF document - 34KB)Apr 2011504
Modular Leach Drain Cells (Adobe PDF document - 26KB)Aug 2011505
Trade Waste Pre-treatment Devices (Adobe PDF document - 29KB)Nov 2012506
Admin Procedures - AWTS (Adobe PDF document - 34KB)Aug 2011507
Admin Procedures - Self Certification of Septic Tanks (Adobe PDF document - 38KB)Aug 2011509
Admin Procedures - Approval of Septic Tanks (Adobe PDF document - 38KB)Aug 2011510
Design of Sewage Ponds & Recycling (Adobe PDF document - 49KB)Aug 2011511
Standards for Microbiological Quality of Recycled Water for Irrigating Food Crops (Adobe PDF document - 42KB)Aug 2011512
Recycled Water Irrigation: Information Guide for Applicants (Adobe PDF document - 33KB)Aug 2011513
Changes or mods to onsite wastewater systems (Adobe PDF document - 43KB)Dec 2011514
Setbacks from Domestic Bores to Onsite Wastewater Systems (Adobe PDF document - 37KB)Dec 2011515
Installation of Pit Toilets (Adobe PDF document - 45KB)Nov 2012516
Requirements for AWTS subsurface irrigation for commercial & industrial developments (Adobe PDF document - 80KB)Dec 2012517
Admin Procedures - Waterless Composting Toilets (Adobe PDF document - 150KB)Mar 2013518