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NSW Development Code for Rainwater Tank Installations

NSW Development Code for Rainwater Tank Installations

When installing a water tank you need to make sure that all the work is conducted in accordance with state government specifications and requirements.

This article was written for tank installers to understand the regulations in New South Wales for rainwater tanks installed above ground and below ground, and the associated plumbing requirements.

Note: When working in NSW you must also comply with the requirements in the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. In this policy, specific requirements are legislated for rainwater tanks that vary depending upon whether installed above or below ground.

Above Ground Water Tank Requirements

These requirements apply if the water tank is constructed above ground and is not located on a land that is in an environmentally sensitive or foreshore area.

  1. If the water tank is constructed on a land other than in Zone RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6, R5, E2, E3 or E4, then:
    1. the water tank must NOT exceed a capacity of 25,000 L if it is for an educational establishment
    2. the water tank must NOT exceed a capacity of 10,000 L for any other establishment
    3. the water tank must be at least 450 mm away from each boundary of the lot, if the tank is more than 1.8 meters in height
  2. If the water tank is constructed on a land in Zone RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6, R5, E2, E3 or E4, then it must be at least 10m away from each boundary of the lot
  3. You must locate the water tank behind the building line of every road frontage
  4. You must make sure that the water tank does not rest on the footing of any existing building
  5. You must make sure that the tank does not require cut and fill greater than 1 meter above or below the existing ground level
  6. You must fit the water tank with a screened rain head that will prevent against leaf litter and will ensure self-cleaning
  7. You must fit the water tank with a first-flush device with an incorporated resetting valve that will cause initial run-off rainwater to bypass the tank
  8. You must construct or install prevention for mosquitoes to ensure they will not breed in it
  9. You must connect the overflow of the tank with an existing stormwater drainage system that is not discharging in an adjoining property and is not causing any nuisance to adjoining land owners
  10. You must locate the tank in the rear yard if the installation is conducted on a heritage item or draft heritage item
  11. You must make sure that the pumps attached to the water tank are placed in a soundproofed enclosure
  12. Be aware that the water tank must not be interconnected with reticulated water supply unless it is stated otherwise within the local authority’s requirements. Therefore, make sure you check with them first.

More information on these requirements can be found in New South Wales Consolidated Regulations, Subdivision 32 – Rainwater tanks (above ground).

Below Ground Water Tank Requirements

These requirements apply for above ground water tanks that are installed on land that is located in Zones RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU5 and RU6, which are defined as:

  • RU1: Primary production land. Includes agriculture and a wide range of primary industry enterprises.
  • RU2: Rural landscape. Includes extensive agriculture and compatible rural land uses.
  • RU3: Includes forestry and developments compatible with forestry land use.
  • RU4: Rural small holdings. Includes agriculture on small rural lots and compatible uses of land.
  • RU5: Includes dwellings, retail and business premises with associate uses in rural villages.
  • RU6: Includes houses and other uses of land that provide transition between rural and other uses of land.

The requirements also apply to water tanks that are not installed on land that has been identified as environmentally sensitive area and are not installed on land that has been identified as Class 1-5 on the Acid Sulfate Map, which indicates areas that contain acid sulfate soils. You can view these maps here: New South Wales Consolidated Regulations, Warringah Local Environmental Plan 2011.

The requirements for below ground water tanks in developments satisfying the criteria mentioned above are:

  1. You must fit the water tank with a first-flush device that will cause initial run-off rainwater to bypass the tank
  2. You must label the tank with a sign that is affixed to it and that states that the water inside is rainwater
  3. You must construct or install prevention for mosquitoes to ensure they will not breed in it
  4. You must connect the overflow of the tank with an existing stormwater drainage system that is not discharging in an adjoining property and is not causing any nuisance to adjoining land owners
  5. You must locate the tank in the rear yard if the installation is conducted on a heritage item or draft heritage item
  6. You must make sure that the pumps attached to the water tank are placed in a soundproofed enclosure
  7. Be aware that the water tank must not be interconnected with reticulated water supply unless it is stated otherwise within the local authority’s requirements. Therefore, make sure you check with them first.

More information on these requirements can be found in New South Wales Consolidated Regulations, Subdivision 33 – Rainwater tanks (below ground).

Plumbing Requirements for Rainwater Tanks

When a rainwater tank is plumbed in, the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) will need to be satisfied. This code is a technical standard defined in the National Construction Code and is relevant to all plumbing and drainage work in NSW. This Code is based upon the Australian Plumbing and Drainage standard (AS/NZS 3500) which defines the performance requirements for plumbing and drainage.