23-07 Draft update of the Environment and Health Protection Guidelines: Onsite Sewage Management for Single Households (Silver Book)

Circular DetailsCircular No 23-07 / 27 June 2023 / A858665
Who should read thisGeneral Managers / Environmental Health Officers / Council
Water Utilities
ContactPolicy Team / (02) 4428 4100 /
Action requiredRequest for feedback
PDF Version23-07 Draft update of the Environment and Health Protection Guidelines: Onsite Sewage Management for Single Households (Silver Book)

What’s new or changing

  • The Silver Book is undergoing a review and update to bring it in line with modern expectations, technological advancements, the latest scientific literature and emerging trends in land use.
  • The Office of Local Government (OLG) is now seeking feedback on a draft update.

What this will mean for your council

  • Councils regulate the installation and operation of Onsite Wastewater Management (OWM) systems and rely heavily on the guidance provided in the Silver Book.
  • An updated Silver Book will provide councils with increased confidence that their approval processes achieve desired public health and environmental outcomes.
  • The aim of the review is to increase the consistency by which councils across the state carry out their OWM responsibilities and improve clarity around councils’ responsibilities.
  • Feedback received will be carefully considered and will help inform any required changes prior to release of a final version later this year.

Key points

  • The Silver Book remains the primary reference document for OWM in NSW. It is also referenced by other industry participants, including wastewater consultants, environmental engineers, suppliers, installers and service technicians.
  • Sector opinion of the required scope of the draft update was gauged through a survey carried out in late June 2022. The survey highlighted the sector’s pressing concerns and key priorities. This information and feedback helped shape the development of this draft update.
  • The Silver Book was developed under the guidance and direction of OLG, NSW Health, the Department of Planning and Environment – Water (Town Water Risk Reduction Program) and WaterNSW.
  • The update includes a new model OWM strategy that councils may wish to refer to and/or adapt when next reviewing their strategies. It is based on a desktop review of several councils’ current strategies to come up with a best practice approach.
  • The regular review and updating of strategies is encouraged to ensure they remain relevant and useful tools for operational management of new and existing OWM systems.

Where to go for further information

Ashley Ashbury
A/Deputy Secretary, Local Government