What is trade waste?

Trade waste is liquid wastewater from a food business 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 may need 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.

Whether your business is food related or industrial, you will be creating wastewater (or trade waste) that needs to be treated before it can be discharged to the sewer network.

What is a Trade Waste Agreement or Trade Waste Consent?

Every business that discharges wastewater (other than domestic wastewater) into our sewer system must have a Trade Waste Agreement or Trade Waste Consent with us.

These arrangements contain the terms and conditions under which your trade waste will be accepted. Different businesses have trade waste pre-treatment and management requirements specific to the business activities. Trade waste requirements are negotiated with us during the agreement preparation phase.

Do you need a Trade Waste Agreement or Trade Waste Consent?

Different types of businesses will have different trade waste responsibilities.

Food businesses

If your business is related to food production or preparation, you will need to hold a Trade Waste Consent with us.

Examples of businesses and institutions that prepare food are:

  • bakeries
  • retail butchers and delicatessens
  • restaurants, cafeterias and canteens
  • schools
  • cafes
  • function centres
  • supermarkets
  • fast food and takeaway shops
  • caterers
  • ice cream shops
  • commercial kitchens.

Businesses like this will be required to have a grease trap installed and this must be maintained while operating your business. Grease traps are a treatment device that separate oils, fats and solids and prevent them from entering the sewer. To find out more about grease traps and installation visit our Grease trap page.

Visit our Food businesses page to find out more.

Industrial businesses

If your business undertakes industrial processes and generates waste water requiring discharge to sewer, you will need to hold a Trade Waste Agreement with us.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • meat processing plants
  • food manufacturers
  • metal finishers
  • car washes
  • hospitals and other institutions
  • laundries and chemical plants
  • waste treaters
  • mechanical workshops
  • construction sites who need to manage storm or groundwater**.

**Please note that groundwater intercepted by completed structures will not be accepted for discharge into CWW's sewerage network.

Visit our Industrial businesses page to find out more.

Deemed customers

Non-residential customers who discharge low volumes of low strength wastewater, similar to a normal residential household, are classified as ‘deemed customers.’

A deemed customer does not need to pay trade waste charges or hold a site-specific Trade Waste Consent. Instead you can find a letter of consent to discharge, which we suggest you download and keep for your records.

Deemed customers include:

  • occasional and childcare centres (without food preparation or laundry facilities)
  • medical facilities without x-ray or plaster setting services dental practices without x-ray or plaster setting services (must have an amalgam trap installed)
  • veterinary, animal clinics and retail pet shops without kennel wash-down areas, dog washes, x-rays or aquariums
  • beauticians and hairdressers
  • chemist and pharmacy without non-digital photo processing
  • retail florists providing that straining or silt traps are installed and maintained - no herbicide to sewer is permitted
  • standalone retail green grocers - straining or silt traps must be installed and maintained.

This list is not exhaustive. If you believe you may be a deemed trade waste customer, email our trade waste team.

Moving or closing your business?

Whether you are moving to a new location or closing the business for good, before you leave the premises you’ll need to close your account and cancel your Trade Waste Consent or Agreement.

For more information visit our Moving or closing your business page.

More information and advice

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, online, or email our trade waste team.

Trade waste documents

Please note: the following Trade Waste documents are for Greater Western Water customers who have a property or business in the area previously serviced by City West Water. To check if these documents are relevant to your property or business, go to gww.com.au and enter your postcode. You can also contact us on 13 44 99.


General trade waste FAQs

Who needs to hold a Trade Waste Agreement?

A Trade Waste Agreement is required for any business or institution that carries out any of the following activities:

  • Discharging any liquid waste to our sewer, other than domestic waste (domestic waste is from a toilet, hand basin or a kitchen sink used for personal use).
  • Washing-up or cleaning any utensil or apparatus that is a component of the business or institution and then discharging the waste to our sewer.
  • Conducting a commercial and/or industrial process that produces a contaminated liquid waste that is discharged to sewer (i.e. anything that is non-domestic liquid waste that contains chemicals or residue from a commercial or industrial process).
  • Having any pre-treatment device(s) installed on the property connected to our infrastructure regardless of whether it is in us or not.
Why does Greater Western Water manage trade waste?

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.
What are my trade waste legal obligations?

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.

How do I apply for a Trade Waste Agreement?

Find out about the Trade Waste Agreement your business needs by visiting;

After we receive your trade waste application form, you can expect to hear from us within 10 business days.

I am a new business operator. How do I organise the Trade Waste Agreement and bills in my name?

We will update any Trade Waste Agreement and billing details on receipt of your trade waste application.

Visit our setting up a new business page for more information.

Why do you give my business a risk rank?

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.

How do I connect to the sewer?

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.

My business has changed and I no longer produce trade waste. What are my options?

Visit the what to do when moving or closing your business page for more details on closing your trade waste account.

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