Septic Tanks

Septic Tanks are required in parts of Kangaroo Island, either as part of the Kingscote and Parndana Septic Tank Effluent Disposal Scheme type Community Wastewater management Schemes (CWMS) and in appropriate areas where onsite waste water treatment or disposal is appropriate via a self contained septic tank and disposal trench (Septic) system, or Aerobic Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS) and irrigation area.


Prior to installing any form of septic tank, including aerobic systems such as Biocycles, approval is required from Kangaroo Island Council. Forms for these are available here.

*Please note that applications for alternative systems (composting systems, hybrids, sand-filter, reed beds etc) must be submitted to the Department of Health, NOT Kangaroo Island Council.

Most properties at American River and Penneshaw townships do not require septic tanks to be installed with the exception of land east of Trethewey Tce and west of Willoughby Road in Penneshaw and Kestral Close, Plover Place and the western extent of Sea Eagle Way. However, approval is required from Council to connect to the sewerage scheme. The form for this is available here.

Fees relating to the installation, alteration or inspections of septic tanks are listed in Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges under Waste Control Systems.


Council requires all septic tanks, irrespective of type, to be desludged every four years in line with Department of Health requirements.

Contractors desludging septic tanks are required to advise Council when tanks are desludged and pay Council a fee per tank desludged when disposed at the Resource Recovery Centre. This fee is stated in the Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges .

Council maintains a database of when tanks are desludged – your desludging of self-contained on-site waste water systems is the responsibility of the land owner – failure to maintain the tank in good working order through regular desludging and maintenance of any operative pumps or aerators and irrigation lines for aerobic systems may result in costly damage and potential failure of the system.

Septic tanks connected to Septic Tank Effluent Discharge CWMS Schemes must be desludged within a 4 yearly cycle, to achieve this regularity of maintenance, Council will maintain your CWMS connected septic tank as part of its CWMS Septic Tank Desludging Program.


Premises which have access to a CWMS must be connected to the CWMS irrespective of the type of septic tank installed.

To connect a septic tank to a CWMS the following must occur:

  • Application for connection and appropriate plumbing layout plans must be approved by Council,
  • Septic tank desludged prior to connection,
  • Connection between property boundary and septic tank undertaken by a qualified plumber.
  • Council install a connection to the property bourndary, Council will charge the property owner.


Biosolids are the material removed from septic tanks during desludging by liquid waste contractors. Council manages the disposal of biosolids. The liquid waste contractor disposes of biosolids at the Kangaroo Island Resource Recovery Centre in a purpose built receival area. The biosolids are then pumped through a Geobag ‘sock’ where the material is dewatered. The solid material, after a period of drying, is able to be used as a safe adjunct for composted green waste or application to land.

For a copy of the Environmental Management Plan, click here.