Section 60 approval for water or sewage treatment works

Under Section 60 of the Local Government Act 1993, local water utilities (LWUs) are required to obtain ministerial approval for the construction or modification of water or sewage treatment works. The Section 60 approval provides an independent assessment of the proposed works to ensure they are fit for purpose and provide robust, safe, cost-effective and sound solutions that meet public health and environmental requirements.

Each proposed water or sewage treatment works project requires an options study, concept design report and detailed design. These need to be prepared by suitably qualified and experienced practitioners and submitted to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Water Utilities Group for review. The information provided must clearly define the proposed activity and detail how the environment will be protected. A guidance note on water treatment options study and a similar note for wastewater projects can be found below.

The department provides an independent and objective review of the proposed works to identify whether they are fit for purpose and meet the above requirements. Through this process, the department provides value to applicants by sharing the insights and expertise it has developed by overseeing more than 500 LWU water and sewage treatment works in regional NSW.

Innovation is encouraged and Section 60 approvals will be granted for sound pilot projects involving novel solutions. However, applications need to demonstrate that the facilities can be effectively operated by the utility over the broad range of operating conditions likely to be encountered over the asset's lifespan.

Consultation and approvals

Consultation with the department from project initiation through to design is recommended. Section 60 approval is provided following the completion of a detailed design but the highest value for Councils is gained by following the department’s recommended consultation and approval process, that features engagement through the project lifecycle.

The consultation and approval process for Section 60 approvals for water sewage and recycled water treatment works are based on the project procurement strategy. These are Construction only (construction of a detailed design) or Design and construct projects.

Construction only

Construction of a detailed design projects are based on a detailed design, prepared for the LWU by a suitable practitioner.

To apply for a Section 60 approval, refer to construction of a detailed design application.

Design and construct

In design and construct projects, the successful contractor will undertake both the design and construction work based on a specification prepared. This category can include the following contract types:

  • Build, Own, Operate (BOO)
  • Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT)
  • Design, Build, Operate (DBO)
  • Alliance contracts.

To apply for a Section 60 approval, refer to design and construct application process.