Permits and licences
To operate, install a brand-new system or modify an existing one (including changes that increase system flow or load), permits from the Local Government Authority (LGA) or permission licences from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) are required depending on the system daily capacity load.
- LGA permits and certifications are required for systems capable of processing up to 5,000 litres per day.
- EPA development licences are required for systems above 5,000 litres per day. Please contact EPA via to enquire whether you will require an A14 Permit for systems above 5,000 litres per day.
Documents such as permits, certificates, and licenses must be uploaded into the Asset Information Management System (AIMS) school documents section or retained in the school's file records until AIMS is available.
LGA permits and certificates
For systems that can treat up to 5,000 litres of wastewater a day, schools must apply for a permit from their LGA to construct, install or alter an OWMS.
On completion of construction, installation or alteration of an OWMS, the LGA who issued the permit inspects the system. If the LGA is satisfied the system complies with the permit, they issue a certificate approving the use of the system.
A certificate-to-use confirms the compliant installation of a new or modified system. Permits outline the ongoing preventative measures, routine maintenance and other compliance requirements that a school must conduct.
Schools without an active permit, schools undertaking new installations or schools altering existing systems must contact their LGA to be issued with a certificate-to-use and permit.
A wastewater consultant or Victorian Building Authority (VBA) registered plumber may be needed by schools to assist in the process of gathering and submitting all the required information to obtain a permit or certificate. The LGA may refuse to issue permits for systems that do not conform to relevant operational standards.
Permits expire after 2 years from the date of issue and schools must regularly review their permits.
Systems that can treat more than 5,000 litres per day need an EPA licence for their installation and use. Schools will need to obtain an EPA development licence and an operating licence unless exemptions apply.
There are 2 EPA licences that may apply to schools with OWMS. The first is a development licence which is needed to install or modify a system. The second is an operating licence which is needed to use a system.
Operating licences outline the risk management steps that a school must take on the operation and maintenance of OWMS.
Schools may consider engaging a wastewater consultant or VBA registered plumber to assist in the process of gathering and submitting all the required information to obtain EPA licences.
EPA development licences
EPA development licenses are for the design, construction and modification stages of building projects for industrial or waste management activities that are high-risk. This includes school OWMS that can treat more than 5,000 litres per day.
By default, works approvals become development licences. If you have a current works approval, this will immediately become a development licence under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (Vic). However, the conditions of your new operating licence will change. You can review the conditions by type of licensed operating activity.
Schools will need to next apply for an operating licence once they have obtained a development licence.
EPA operating licences
EPA operating licences are for complex high-risk industrial and waste activities that are ongoing. This includes school OWMS that can treat more than 5,000 litres per day. These licences expire after 20 years.
Without having a previous development licence, schools can go directly to an operating licence only when:
- the school is currently operating a facility that requires an operating licence, under the Environment Protection Regulations
- an operating licence is due to expire, and a school is re-applying for the same activity, at the same activity address.
Reviewed 09 January 2023