Applying for water treatment or sewerage works approvals

From 1 July 2022, the Regulatory and assurance framework for local water utilities PDF, 1100.53 KB applies to local water utilities in regional NSW.

The new approach to assessment and approvals of works (under section 60 of the Local Government Act 1993 or section 292(1) of the Water Management Act 2000) is fully implemented from 1 July 2022.

Our guidance document Applying for water treatment and sewerage works approvals PDF, 1004.25 KB is available for use by local water utilities.

The online application form is available via our WAMS portal (Water Actions Management System). A fact sheet about applying online PDF, 252.66 KB is available for reference..

We encourage local water utilities to engage the department before making a submission. You can contact the department at

This engagement will usually be in the form of an informal meeting. During the meeting we will:

  • listen to you and ask questions to understand the strategic context of the proposed works and/or the issues you are facing
  • walk through the template application form with you
  • explain the matters that must be considered as part of the approval.

Following the meeting, you will receive meeting minutes summarising the key points of the discussion together with a reference number to provide a continuous and easily accessible channel of communication between you and the department throughout the later phases of the approvals process and the life of the project.

Additional optional guidance

Optional guidance on water treatment options study and a similar note for sewerage works can be found below.

Resources to support recycled water projects

Recycled water risk assessment

To complete the risk assessment, utilities should:

  • run a risk assessment workshop with participants from a range of backgrounds (including health, engineering, environment and planning) and with a range of expertise (including management, operations and end use). It is recommended that key stakeholders, including representatives from the NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Environment Protection Authority and the Department are invited
  • produce a process diagram and description of the recycled water scheme (from source to end use) identifying the critical control points
  • identify potential hazards and hazardous events (considering the treatment process, sewerage reticulation, end uses and the environment)
  • determine maximum risk levels (using frequency and consequence descriptors as detailed in the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks - Phase 1 of all potential hazards and hazardous events
  • identify all controls for each event according to its risk level
  • reassess potential hazards and hazardous events to determine their controlled or residual risk level. Are the revised levels realistic and acceptable?
  • identify risk management controls and critical control points to be implemented in the monitoring, operational and/or emergency response procedures
  • ensure that indicative log removal values for treatment and onsite controls match the required log removal values for the highest level of public exposure to the recycled water. Refer to Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks - Phase 1.

The results of the risk assessment should be submitted as part of the recycled water management plan.

Recycled water management plan

The Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1) set out a preventive risk-based approach to managing health and environmental risks associated with water recycling. The approach involves systematically assessing where and how hazards or hazardous events may arise and find their way to the point of use and how to protect consumers and the environment.

To be granted Section 60 approval, utilities are required to develop and submit a recycled water management plan using this approach and addressing 12 elements set out in the guidelines. The elements are:


  1. Commitment

System analysis and management

  1. Assessment of the recycled water system
  2. Preventive measures for recycled water management
  3. Operational procedures and process control
  4. Verification of recycled water quality and environmental performance
  5. Management of incidents and emergencies

Supporting requirements

  1. Operator, contractor and end user awareness and training
  2. Community involvement and awareness
  3. Research and development
  4. Documentation and reporting


  1. Evaluation and audit
  2. Review and continual improvement

The plan must cover all 12 of the above elements and also include:

  • a risk assessment for the overall scheme
  • information about the recycled water sources, treatment process and end uses
  • a summary of the validation and verification monitoring results
  • operational procedures
  • strategies for incident and emergency response
  • a training and awareness plan
  • strategies for operational reporting and auditing
  • a communications strategy for stakeholder engagement
  • end user agreements (ensuring that all supplier and user responsibilities and obligations are identified).

Additional resources

We have developed materials to assist utilities in the planning template which is specific to NSW regulations. This includes the following resources:

NSW information sheets for Recycled Water Management Systems

  1. "It's Too Late!" The benefits of risk based prevention vs end point testing PDF, 48.5 KB
  2. Indicators, Reference Pathogens and Log10 Reductions: What does it all mean? PDF, 56.19 KB
  3. Calculating Log Reduction Values PDF, 107.42 KB
  4. Critical Control Points (CCPs) PDF, 112.13 KB
  5. Non-treatment barriers: End use and onsite controls PDF, 45.11 KB
  6. Types of Monitoring PDF, 69.21 KB
  7. Validation and Verification - What's the difference? PDF, 137.67 KB
  8. Getting chlorination right PDF, 262.9 KB
  9. User Agreements PDF, 53.83 KB
  10. Public Health Incident Notification and Response PDF, 35.63 KB