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What is the Onsite Domestic Wastewater Management (ODWM) Grants Program?

The ODWM grants program provides funds to improve onsite wastewater management activities and strengthen the onsite wastewater planning and management processes of councils.

The Victorian Government is funding these grants to address gaps in knowledge that have limited the ability of some councils to develop and implement effective Onsite Wastewater Management Plans (OWMP) and to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Improved management of onsite wastewater systems across Victoria
  • Improvements to risk assessment approaches in OWMPs.

The program funding sits within the Resilient Cities and Towns Branch in the Water and Catchments Group at the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA). Funding from the program is aimed at investing in initiatives to improve onsite wastewater planning and management activities and to encourage Councils to use the new risk assessment approach.

The projects being funded contribute to reducing onsite wastewater management issues which will improve the health of water environments and urban amenity.


Who can apply?

The second round of this program provides funds for activities that support councils across Victoria to improve their knowledge and management of onsite wastewater systems within their municipality.

The following organisations can apply for funding:

  • Victorian councils that are responsible for managing onsite wastewater systems in their municipality and have not received funding from the first round of grants.
  • Victorian water corporations, where the funds are for a council-supported project which informs a council’s OWMP (evidence of Council support is to be provided).

Who cannot apply?

The following cannot apply for funding:

  • Recipients of funding from round 1
  • Individuals
  • Private sector businesses and agencies (except as specified above)
  • Educational institutions
  • Traditional Owner Organisations

Note that Traditional Owners groups could seek funding through the Integrated Water Management Program for activities that improve waterway health on their Country. Find out more about what funding may be available.


What might be funded?

Grants may be provided for activities that can demonstrate a benefit to the onsite wastewater planning and management processes of councils. The following types of projects are eligible for funding:

  • Data improvement: Projects to increase knowledge of onsite wastewater system age, type, and condition, and to better understand risks. Examples include assistance with converting hard copy records, collating septic tank audit information, or converting data into a GIS layer.
  • Onsite wastewater management plan improvements: Councils can use funds to undertake an in-house review and update of their current OWMP or for seeking external assistance to update or develop a new plan. Councils must use the new risk assessment framework (PDF, 1.8 MB) to validate the risk assessments in their ODWM plans.
  • Risk reduction activities: Funds can be provided to undertake activities identified in the action plan in the OWMP. Examples include designing and implementing an education program or developing and implementing a monitoring and inspection program targeted at improving knowledge and compliance of onsite wastewater systems.

What will not be funded?

The ODWM grants program will not fund the following activities:

  • Projects that do not demonstrate a clear benefit to improving knowledge or management of onsite wastewater systems across Victoria
  • Business as usual activities such as assessment of onsite wastewater permit applications or land capability assessment reviews for applications and subdivisions
  • Alternative options for onsite wastewater systems
  • Recurrent operating costs, for example rent and utility costs, and/or activities establishing expectations of ongoing funding
  • Activities that are not scheduled to begin within the 2022/23 or 2023/24 financial years
  • Activities located outside Victoria
  • political campaigning or advocacy activities for political parties.

What are the funding details?

The total funding available is $1.28 million over two financial years, being the period of 2022–23 and 2023–24.

Grants of up to $20,000 are available to successful applicants.

Projects that contribute to collaboration and build upon contributions from proponent organisations will be looked upon favourably. Applicants’ contributions can be financial or in-kind.

Assessment criteria

First, applications will be checked for eligibility to make sure that the applicant and their activity are eligible for funding as per sections 2 to 5 above.

Applications will require the following information:

WHAT: Type of project requiring funding 50%

Applicants should

  • describe the problem or opportunity that this project is addressing
  • indicate the activity type (refer section 4)
  • detail what will be delivered (including outputs/products to be produced).

HOW: will the project be delivered? (50%)

Applicants should:

  • describe how the grant funding will be used- indicating how delivery of this project relates to implementation of your current OWMP
  • attach a copy of the current DWMP
  • outline the role of the applicant and any other organisations involved in the project including the proposed start and end date.
  • specify the total cost of the project (including cost sharing/other contributions).

NOTE: For projects to improve an existing OWMP or to develop a new one, the approach to using the new risk assessment framework must be outlined. The risk assessment framework is available online.

The applicant must be able to complete all project milestones for which grant funding is provided and complete all requirements of the funding agreement (including acquittals and final report), by 31 May 2024. Components of the project for which grant funding is not received may continue beyond this date.

What supporting documents will need to be provided?

Please submit the following documents with your application:

  • Copy of current OWMP
  • If the lead applicant is a Water Corporation, include letters of support from all relevant local councils

Funding conditions

Funding agreements

Successful applicants must enter into a funding agreement with DEECA. The Victorian Common Funding Agreement is used for funding agreements with local government authorities.

For water corporations, funding agreements will be generated using the standard DEECA transfer payment agreement with project-specific schedules and milestones. It is recommended that applicants review the terms and conditions before applying. Contact Helen Oates at if you need a copy of the terms and conditions.

Legislative and regulatory requirements

In delivering the activity, grant recipients are required to comply with all relevant Commonwealth and state/territory legislation and regulations, including but not limited to:

  • The Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth)
  • The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)
  • Water Act 1989 (Vic)
  • Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic)
  • Environment Protection Act 2017 (Vic)

Tax implications

Applicants should consult the Australian Taxation Office or seek professional advice on any taxation implications that may arise from this grant funding.

DEECA does not pay GST to government related entities which includes all government bodies, portfolio agencies and catchment management authorities. Therefore, organisations should apply for the amount that would cover the total costs of delivering your project, including GST where applicable.

Acknowledging the Victorian Government’s support

Successful applicants are expected to acknowledge the Victorian Government’s support and promotional guidelines will form part of the funding agreement. Successful applicants must liaise with the DEECA’s program area to coordinate any public events or announcements related to the project.


Payments will be made as long as:

  • the funding agreement has been signed by both parties
  • grant recipients provide reports as outlined in the funding agreement, or otherwise demonstrate that the activity is progressing as expected
  • other terms and conditions of funding continue to be met.


Grant recipients are required to comply with project monitoring and reporting requirements as outlined in the funding agreement. This may include progress reports, site inspections, completion reports and acquittal documentation.


Any personal information about you or a third party in your application will be collected by the department for the purposes of administering your grant application and informing Members of Parliament of successful applications. Personal information may also be disclosed to external experts, such as members of assessment panels, or other Government departments for assessment, reporting, advice, comment or for discussions regarding alternative or collaborative grant funding opportunities. If you intend to include personal information about third parties in your application, please ensure that they are aware of the contents of this privacy statement.

Any personal information about you or a third party in your correspondence will be collected, held, managed, used, disclosed, or transferred in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and other applicable laws.

DEECA is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information. You can find the DEECA Privacy Policy online at

Requests for access to information about you held by DEECA should be sent to the Manager Privacy, P.O. Box 500 East Melbourne 8002 or contact by emailing

Application process

All applications for round 2 of the ODWM Grants Program must be submitted electronically through our Grants Application Portal.

Click on the ‘Start New Application’ button.

You will receive an application number when you submit an online application. Please quote this number in all communications with the department relating to your application.

Return to a saved application

Visit our Grants Online portal to continue your saved application

Attaching required documents

Documents must be attached at the Supporting Documents section of the online application form.

For multi-agency projects, where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is in place, a copy of the MoU can be attached at the Supporting Documents section of the online application form.

Supporting documents must be in an acceptable file type, such as Word, Excel, PDF, or JPEG. The maximum file size for each file is 10MB.

If you have documents to submit that cannot be attached to your online application, you can email them to, quoting your application number. Attach all documents to one email, zipping the files if required.

Make sure your application, including any emailed documents, is submitted by 5pm AEDT on Thursday 2 March 2023. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date.

Note: No hard copy applications will be accepted. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.

Find out more information about managing onsite domestic wastewater systems in Victoria.

If you need assistance submitting your application online, email

What is the notification process?

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing after the assessment process is completed. All decisions are final and are not subject to further review. Unsuccessful applicants can ask for feedback on their application.

Grant guideline documents

Grant guidelines (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Accessible version (DOCX, 5.9 MB)