Government Sewerage Policy (2019)

The Government Sewerage Policy (2019) sets the State Government’s position on how sewerage services are to be provided in Western Australia through the planning and development of land.
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Water policies review

The WAPC, has reviewed the State’s water planning policy framework and released Draft State Planning Policy 2.9 Planning for Water (SPP 2.9) and Planning for Water Guidelines for public comment.

Draft SPP 2.9 and Guidelines will help streamline and simplify the current planning framework to deliver greater clarity around how water-related provisions are implemented.

Once gazetted, it is intended that SPP 2.9 and Guidelines will replace water-related policies including Government Sewerage Policy.

To view Draft SPP 2.9 and Guidelines and have your say on its content, please visit our online consultation hub.

Implementation update 2021: Water policies review

The GSP was finalised in 2019 with the understanding that it would be incorporated within the new SPP 2.9 given the interaction with and similar objectives between the GSP and SPP 2.9.

Since the GSP was released issues have arisen with its implementation, which has resulted in some change to the sewerage policy provisions within draft SPP 2.9.

In response to these implementation issues, the following key changes have been made to some of the GSP’s requirements. The draft SPP 2.9:

  • states that a secondary treatment system with nutrient removal are recommended in sewerage sensitive areas “where soils have low capacity to retain nutrients and lots less than 1 hectare are proposed” and in public drinking water source areas
  • outlines the performance for the secondary treatment system with nutrient removal consistent with AS/NZS 1546 On-Site Domestic Wastewater Treatment Units Secondary treatment systems
  • applies only to proposals prepared and assessed under the Planning and Development Act 2005
  • rationalised information requirements in support of planning proposal and states “the level of information required will be commensurate with the scale and nature of the proposal”.

Further detailed information on proposed changes to the GSP can be found in the Explanatory Notes for draft SPP 2.9 and Guidelines

Implementation update 2019: Onsite sewage disposal – ‘secondary treatment systems with nutrient removal

Since the release of the Policy, issues have emerged with implementing the requirements for a ‘secondary treatment system with nutrient removal’. All secondary treatment systems need to be tested for compliance with Australian/New Zealand Standards 1546:3 On-site domestic wastewater treatment units Secondary treatment systems (AS1546:3:2017) by the end of 2020. It is unclear how many systems will comply with the nutrient removal criteria contained in the Policy or ASNZS 1546:3:2017.

Until this issue is resolved, any secondary treatment systems listed on the Department of Health website as having a ‘nutrient reduction capability’ are recommended wherever a ‘secondary treatment system with nutrient removal’ is required in the Policy. Consideration should also be given to the capability of available systems to accommodate hydraulic loads and composition of sewerage generated on-site, particularly for non-residential land uses. Further information on the certification of secondary treatment systems is available on the Department of Health website. Any queries should be directed to the Environmental Health Directorate via or phone 9222 2000.

The policy guides future strategic planning, subdivision and development for the provision of sewage disposal in Western Australia.

The policy promotes reticulated sewerage as the best disposal method for sewage. It requires all new subdivision and development to be connected to reticulated sewerage where available or considered necessary on health, environment or planning grounds. 

Where reticulated sewerage cannot be provided, the policy provides detailed site requirements for on-site sewage treatment and disposal.

The policy will replace the Government Sewerage Policy – Perth Metropolitan Region (1996) and Draft Country Sewerage Policy (2002, amended 2003) when operational on 23 September 2019.

Map of sewage sensitive areas

The location of Public Drinking Water Sources areas is available for viewing at the Department of Water’s Geographic Data Atlas

Guidance for Site and Soil evaluations for on-site sewage disposal can be found on the Department of Health website.  

If you require additional information, please contact or phone 6551 8002.