What is trade waste?

Trade waste is waterborne waste (other than waste that is a prohibited substance, human waste or stormwater) from 
  • food service businesses
  • commercial, manufacturing, trade or industrial premises
  • commercial refrigeration, air conditioning or boiler operation 
  • ships 

Before your business discharges trade waste into our sewers, the owner of the property where the waste water is generated must have a Trade Waste Approval. 

Why do we manage trade waste?

It’s important to manage trade waste as it may contain substances that cause blockages or damage to our sewerage system or the environment.

We manage trade waste to protect:

  • the safety of personnel working in and around our sewerage system
  • sewerage infrastructure from degradation and damage
  • treatment processes from adverse impacts 
  • the environment and waterways that receive treated wastewater
  • downstream recycling of water and reuse of bio solids. 

To recover the cost of managing the additional load trade waste imposes on the sewerage system, trade waste charges apply.

What are trade waste categories?

Trade waste approval are categorised according to the main trade waste business type at the property.  These categories link similar business types to equitable charges and relevant methods for measuring or estimating volume and strength of discharges, as follows:

Category A
Business type
Minor food service or hospitality activities; care facilities with high residential character; premises with low volume and difficult to measure trade waste discharges or no water meter.
Wastewater description
Minor discharge volume difficult to measure but assumed to be less than 65kL/quarter. Deemed domestic strength.
Category B
Business type
Small to medium traders; mechanical and motor vehicle workshops; commercial laundries and other businesses with similar characteristics.
Wastewater description
Deemed domestic strength. Volume usually indirectly calculated from water usage.
Category C
Business type
Cooling tower discharges; boiler wastewater; refrigeration condensate; low impact manufacturing; metal finishers and other businesses with low strength discharges.
Wastewater description
Deemed less than half domestic strength. Volume usually indirectly calculated from water usage (may be metered).
Category D
Business type
Brewery; cannery; abattoir; food and chemical processor; significant manufacturing or industrial activity and other businesses with similar characteristics.
Wastewater description
Large trader with volume greater than10kL/day or strength greater than 20kg/day BOD5. Trade waste quality fully assessed by routine sampling and chemical testing. Volume directly measured using effluent flow meter.
Category E
Business type
Café; restaurant; takeaway; hospitality and catering; pubs; taverns; bars and clubs; food or beverage businesses.
Wastewater description
Assumed or measured greater than double domestic strength for BOD5.  Volume usually indirectly calculated from water usage.

See our list of typical trade waste categorisations for more information.



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Contact us

Call us on 13 26 57 (7am – 7pm weekdays) and ask to speak with a trade waste officer or contact us via our