Skip navigation
Print this page

Effluent disposal

Aerobic treatment units (ATUs)

ATUs are a more advance effluent treatment system than septic tanks, but are not an alternative to sewer connection. They treat the water via chlorination, and wastewater can be dispersed into garden areas, but must not be used on vegetable gardens. Phosphates are also required to be removed if the system is near water bodies as they can contribute to algal growth. ATUs are required to be serviced quarterly by a qualified person and a copy of the service report sent to the City.

To install an ATU, complete the application to install an apparatus for the treatment of sewage together with a fee and submit it to the City of Fremantle for approval.

For more information visit the Department of Health website.

Grey water reuse systems (GRS)

GRS are used to filter waste water from bathrooms, laundries and sometimes kitchen sources for use to water gardens. The system is not connected to toilets (known as black water) because of the high bacterial load which may cause illness.

There are many products available on the market; however the system you choose must be on the approved GRS list from the Department of Health. The type of product that suits your household needs will be dependent on your water usage and the dispersal area available. Your plumber can advise you on which system would best suit you.

To install a grey water reuse system, you must make an application and payment to the City of Fremantle. It is an offence under the Health (Treatment of Sewage and Disposal of Effluent and Liquid Waste) Regulations 1974 to install a GRS without approval and an offence to use the GRS without a permit. All greywater reuse systems must meet the legislative requirements of the Code of Practice for the Reuse of Greywater in Western Australia 2010.

The City offers a rebate on the application fee if the system is installed to the satisfaction of our environmental health officers. To apply to install a grey water reuse system, complete the application to install an apparatus for the treatment of sewage together with a fee and submit it to the City of Fremantle for approval.

The Department of Health's grey water fact sheet has more information.

Septic tanks and decommissioning

Septic tanks are commonly used in areas where sewer connection is not available. However the City of Fremantle has sewer connection available to most suburbs.

If you have an existing septic tank but are not sure where it is located on the property, the City may have records of plans. To request a copy of the plans (if available) contact our environmental health services team on 08 9432 9999. Please note that request of an archived file may take up to 10 business days.

If you want to discontinue use of your septic tank and connect to sewer, it is recommended that you 'decommission' the system. Although not mandatory, decommissioning is important as disused systems can become unstable over time and collapse.

Septic tank decommissioning is a requirement when:

  • The property is sold. The new owner has a legal obligation under the Health (Treatment of Sewage and Disposal of Effluent and Liquid Waste) Regulations 1974, to decommission the system within 60 days after settlement of the property.
  • Building extensions encroach on minimum clearances from the system. Septic tanks must be located at least 1.2 metres from any building or boundary and leach drains/soak wells must be located 1.8 metres from any building or boundary.
  • The permitted use of the development changes e.g. from residential to commercial use.

What do you have to do to decommission a septic tank?

  • Pump out all septic tanks, soak wells, leach drains or other on-site disposal systems using a registered liquid waste contractor.
  • Remove the tanks, or if this is impractical, break the base of the tank.
  • Backfill all tanks, soak wells and leach drains with clean fill.
  • Keep the receipt from the contractor to prove that decommissioning has been completed.

Contact our environmental health services team on 08 9432 9999 or email

Contact us

Environmental health services
City of Fremantle
Town Hall Centre
8 William Street
T 08 9432 9999
F 08 9430 4634


Useful links

Department of Health


To submit your form online you will need the Adobe 9.0 Reader. Visit the Adobe website for a free download

You must have Flash Player 8 or higher installed, and JavaScript enabled in your browser, to view this web site. Get Flash Player.
Register Click to register Networks View the social networks page
City of Fremantle
Currently displaying ActiveFreo events only.
Please use filters below to customise your calendar.
Close the calendar
Search or filter events:
Search calendar
Filter in current view
Go! | Reset Calendar
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
City of Fremantle
Close content Pin
Content is loading
Loading page...
Scroll up Scroll down