Check if you need permission to install a septic tank

Septic tanks are typically a two or three chamber system where sewage is collected to enable the settlement of solids, biological digestion and effluent discharge.

You may need permission from us to install a septic tank.

How to check

To apply for permission to install a septic tank system, you'll need to contact our building control team.

Maintenance and repairs

You're responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the systems and ensuring they do not leak or overflow.

If you do not maintain your system or it is found to be contaminating land, you may face enforcement action from us under the Public Health Act.

Disposing of waste

You'll need to install a soak-away to dispose of liquid waste or sewage, but it must not be a pollution risk to:

  • the ground
  • surface water

Your tank installer can test the soil to see if it's suitable.

Soak-away pipes should be buried as shallowly as possible (usually within 1 meter of the ground's surface).

Tank size

The size of the tank must be suitable for the number of people or households that will use it. Your tank installer should be able to help you with this.

Tank location

You'll need to ensure the tank or soak-away is located:

  • more than 15 metres from any dwelling
  • not near to a well or borehole

Drainage Fields

If your soil is suitable, your drainage area will be:

  • determined by the number of people using the tank
  • no closer to 10 meters to a ditch, drain or watercourse

Contact building control

North and Central Team: [email protected]

East and South Team: [email protected]

West Team: [email protected]