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Waste Water

Wastewater treatment and disposal in the Adelaide Hills Council area is managed through several different systems. It is important to understand which system your property has installed and the unique responsibilities of each.

Unlike many inner or metropolitan council areas, residents of the Adelaide Hills cannot assume that they are connected to an externally managed sewer system. Many factors contribute towards this, including low density living, the age of many dwellings and topography that is not supportive of sewer networks.

Wastewater treatment and disposal throughout the Adelaide Hills Council is therefore undertaken with mixture of available methods. These include:

  • Traditional gravity sewer
  • Pressure sewer (whereby each property has a maceration unit)
  • Council Waste Management Systems (CWMS, previously referred to as STEDS)
  • Onsite systems (septic, aerobic or alternative).

Each of these methods has its own unique responsibilities, benefits and drawbacks. As a property owner or resident of the Adelaide Hills, you should make yourself aware of the type of system on your property and the best methods of managing this system.

Council Waste Management Systems (CWMS)

We provide CWMS services to customers in Birdwood, Kersbrook, Mount Torrens, Charleston, Verdun, Woodside and some parts of Stirling.

Wastewater from Council's CWMS systems in Birdwood, Kersbrook and Mount Torrens is treated and disposed of by Council-owned and operated treatment facilities. Wastewater from CWMS systems in Charleston, Woodside, Verdun and Stirling is collected through Council infrastructure and disposed of through SA Water owned treatment facilities.

We have a CWMS Wastewater Service Charter in place with the aim of providing our CWMS customers with a clear understanding of the standards of service they can expect from us and their rights and responsibilities. To inform CWMS customers on how the current prices have been developed and the rationale for price movements between the current and previous year Council has developed a CWMS Pricing Policy Statement.

CWMS septic pump out service

Council arranges a compulsory septic tank de-sludge service for CWMS customers every five years through Woodside business Adelaide Hills Septic.

To minimise costs, the de-sludge service is carried out an entire township at a time. Property owners will be informed by letter approximately two weeks prior to the scheduled pump out service for their township and if residents prefer to be at home when the service is undertaken, appointments can be made at the time of notice by contacting Adelaide Hills Septic directly during office hours.

To ensure a smooth and efficient service, and under workplace health and safety requirements, property owners must remove the access shaft cover to expose the septic tank lid prior to the contractor's arrival.

Septic tank lids are approximately 800x600mm in size, and removal of soil around the lid to a distance of 250mm is also needed. The septic tank lid itself must only be opened by the contractor.

If you require assistance with locating or uncovering the tank lid, please contact Council to discuss your options.

Wastewater options by township

Township/SuburbPostcodeSystems Available
Aldgate5154Sewer and/or onsite
Ashton5137Onsite
Balhannah5242Sewer and/or onsite
Basket Range5138Onsite
Birdwood5234Onsite or CWMS
Bradbury5153Onsite
Bridgewater5155Sewer and/or onsite
Carey Gully5144Onsite
Castambul5076Onsite
Chain of Ponds5133Onsite
Charleston5244Onsite
Cherryville5134Onsite
Crafers5152Sewer and/or onsite
Cudlee Creek5232Onsite
Forest Range5139Onsite
Forreston5233Onsite
Greenhill5140Onsite
Gumeracha5233Sewer and/or onsite
Heathfield5153Sewer and/or onsite
Houghton5131Onsite
Humbug Scrub5114Onsite
Inglewood5133Onsite
Ironbank5153Onsite
Inverbrackie5244Onsite
Kenton Valley5233Onsite
Kersbrook5231Onsite or CWMS
Lenswood5240Onsite
Lobethal5241Sewer and/or onsite
Longwood5153Sewer and/or onsite
Milbrook5133Onsite
Montacute5134Onsite
Mount Torrens5244Onsite or CWMS
Mylor5153Onsite
Norton Summit5136Onsite
Oakbank5243Sewer and/or onsite
Paracombe5134Onsite
Piccadilly5151Sewer and/or onsite
Rostrevor5073Sewer and/or onsite
Scott Creek5153Onsite
Stirling5152Sewer, CWMS and/or onsite
Summertown5141Onsite
Teringie5072Sewer and/or onsite
Upper Sturt5156Onsite
Uraidla5142Onsite
Verdun5245Onsite or CWMS

Wastewater system failures and repairs

Leaking septic systems can have insidious effects, seeping into and contaminating ground water supplies, and mixing with the water in our favourite swimming holes without us even being aware of it.

There is a growing crisis facing areas where septic systems predominate. Many of these septic systems are leaking, posing health risks to families and communities and to those further downstream. Many of us are simply not aware of the risks, and are not managing these systems safely.

You may have had a septic system for years, or just recently installed one. You may be about to move to the country from the city, or you may be thinking about installing a new septic system.

Whatever your situation, you need to know how to manage and operate a septic system safely without causing sewage pollution and risking your family's health or the quality of your local environment.

Wastewater system applications and inspections

For all onsite wastewater system works please download and complete application form. This covers all options including modifications to existing systems as well as applications for new installations.

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