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City West Water

What is trade waste?

Understanding what trade waste is can help you make sure your business complies with our standards.

Trade waste is liquid wastewater from a commercial or industrial entity that enters the sewer system.

This includes all water that is used for the preparation or cooking of food, washing dishes or cleaning, that goes down the drain.

To protect the sewer system some trade waste needs to be treated before it is discharged. Treatment might include removing harmful chemicals or fats or can correct the characteristics of the wastewater, like its pH or temperature.

Do I need a trade waste agreement?

Every business that discharges wastewater (other than domestic wastewater) into our sewer system must have a trade waste agreement with us.

Trade waste agreements are issued to industrial, commercial and commercial food businesses. Agreements contain the terms and conditions under which your trade waste will be accepted. Every business that creates and discharges waste into our sew system must have a trade waste agreement in accordance with our requirements.

Examples of industrial and commercial customers are:

  • meat processing plants,
  • food manufacturers,
  • metal finishes,
  • car washes,
  • hospitals,
  • laundries and chemical plants.

These types of businesses normally have trade waste pre-treatment and management requirements specific to the customer’s activities that are negotiated with us during the agreement preparation phase.

Examples of commercial food businesses are

  • take-away shops,
  • cafes,
  • restaurants,
  • schools,
  • child-care centres and nursing homes.

Commercial food businesses will be required to have a grease trap installed and this must be maintained while operating your business.

Grease traps are a plumbing device that separate oils, fats and solids from entering the sewer. To find out more about grease traps and installation visit out grease trap page.

Deemed businesses

A deemed business is a non-residential customer whose wastewater discharge is low volume and similar to that discharged from a normal residential household.

Deemed customers include:

  • Occasional and child care centres - without food preparation or laundry facilities.
  • Medical facilities without dental surgeries, x-ray or plaster setting services.
  • Veterinary and animal clinics without kennel washdown or aquariums.
  • Beauticians and hairdressers with 10 or fewer wash stations.
  • Chemist and pharmacy without non-digital photo processing.
  • Retail florists providing that straining or silt traps are installed and maintained. Also no herbicide to sewer is permitted.
  • Standalone retail green grocers - straining or silt traps must be installed and maintained.

A deemed customer does not need to pay charges or hold site specific trade waste agreement. Instead they can find a letter of consent to discharge in the download section of this page.

Advice and support

Our team is here to provide you with advice and support with any of your trade waste issues. Please contact us by phone on 9313 8366, complete our online contact form or email us at

General trade waste FAQ

Our trade waste management program manages risk to:

  • Protect the health & safety of sewer workers.
  • Protect the integrity of the sewer system.
  • Protect sewage treatment plant processes.
  • Protect the environment, particularly the receiving environment.
  • Facilitate & provide opportunities for re-use of effluent & biosolids.

To review your legal obligations, please download our Water Act 1989 PDF document.

The primary legal obligation, applicable to all trade waste producers in Victoria who discharge to a sewer network, is that they hold a valid trade waste agreement with their local water authority.

Ask the business operator to provide recent pump-out documentation to demonstrate maintenance. By default grease traps should be pumped out every 3 months.
A risk rank assists us to manage the risk of trade waste discharged from your site to the sewerage system. The risk rank given to your business is calculated based on a number of factors which are detailed in the Trade Waste Customer Charter and Pricing Handbook.

If you are setting up a new business you may be required to install pre-treatment prior to your discharge point to sewer to so that your wastewater complies with our approved Acceptance Criteria. In some cases we may issue you a Customer-Specific Acceptance Criteria if the risk is considered acceptable.

Customers may also apply to City West Water to amend the Approved Acceptance Criteria, subject to approval by the Essential Services Commission. Refer to the Trade Waste Customer Charter for more information.

If your business is found to discharge trade waste that does not the Acceptance Criteria outlined in your trade waste agreement, it will be considered non-compliant and you will be required to take action to address the non-compliance. We will advise you of our requirements, typically through a non-compliance notice.

Trade waste discharges to sewer must comply with the Approved Acceptance Criteria for Discharge (PDF) to the Sewer system. City West Water is under no obligation to accept non-compliant trade waste but can do so under certain conditions.
We will specify sampling requirements of the trade waste discharged from your site in Schedule 3 of your trade waste agreement. If you don’t have a Schedule 3 in your agreement, then you are not required to do any trade waste sampling unless directed by a City West Water representative.
If required to do so, you are responsible for organising trade waste sampling, as specified in Schedule 3 of your trade waste agreement. We may also undertake trade waste sampling at your site. The sampling we undertake is independent of the Schedule 3 sampling requirements in your trade waste agreement.
You must use a licensed plumber to connect your business to sewer for the purposes of discharging trade waste. A plumbing work for drinking water, sewerage and recycled water application form must be filled out and submitted to us prior to this connection taking place.
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