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Requirements for assessment of onboard sewage treatment systems

Section 55 of the Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Regulation 2008 requires that the owner and master of a ship fitted with a treatment system, must ensure that the treatment system:

  1. is assessed by an independent testing entity to ensure that it continues to treat the sewage to the levels for the grade of treated sewage stated in schedule 7, of the Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Regulation 2008 for the treatment system, at the following intervals after the system has been fitted to the ship:
    1. for declared ships:
      • at least annually for the first two years 
      • afterwards, at least every two years.
    2. for all other ships (non-declared ships):
      • at least once in the first five years 
      • afterwards, at least every two years
  2. is maintained, at least, at the intervals and in the manner stated in the system service manual.

An independent testing entity is an entity that is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities as competent to perform the analyses required for Grade A, Grade B or Grade C treated sewage and performs such analyses in Australia.

Maritime Safety Queensland has developed procedural guidelines to assist owners and masters of ships to meet the assessment requirements in a uniform and efficient manner. The guideline document and assessment report templates are available below.

Owners and masters should also be aware that sewage from a treatment system that fails an assessment is not classed as treated sewage and must be discharged in accordance with the nil discharge requirements for untreated sewage. This must be incorporated into the shipboard sewage management plan of any declared ship that does not carry a current assessment report showing that the system has passed the necessary requirements.

Last updated
24 August 2017