What is trade waste?

Trade waste is any wastewater discharged from commercial, industrial, laboratory or trade activities. You need a trade waste consent before you discharge any trade waste.

This is required by law and is necessary to effectively manage the risks associated with trade waste. It’s essentially a performance contract between the customer and South East Water.

If you discharge trade waste to our sewer but that wastewater is only small quantities and of a similar nature to domestic sewage, it may be defined as minor trade waste.

To learn more about what trade waste is, see our frequently asked questions below. 

How do I apply for a trade waste consent?

You can learn more about how to apply for a trade waste consent on our applications page.  Learn more about types of trade waste consent below. 

  • An industrial trade waste consent is provided to industrial trade waste customers that are considered high in risk. 
  • A commercial trade waste consent primarily manages the risks associated with the disposal of greasy food waste into the sewer from commercial food premises such as restaurants, cafes, bakeries, take away food outlets or butchers. 
  • A one-off discharge / groundwater consent covers circumstances where a special one-off trade waste discharge consent is issued to a customer for a limited period of time. 
  • A tankered waste consent allows EPA licensed waste transporters to cart and dispose of waste from septic tanks to specified sewage dumping points, at specified times. 
Does your trade waste meet our approved acceptance criteria? 

There are limits to the physical and chemical characteristics of trade waste that you can discharge to the sewerage system. 

If you have a trade waste consent with us, you’re responsible for making sure your trade waste complies with these standards.

The Statement of Approved Acceptance Criteria contains the full list of criteria for trade waste discharged within our network. This criteria is applicable to Melbourne Water's Eastern and Western treatment plants.

Any proposed discharge to South East Water's water recycling plants may be subject to site-specific criteria and should be referred to our Trade Waste team. 

Need to get in touch?

You can contact our Trade Waste team at tradewaste@sew.com.au or by calling 9552 3662 with any questions. 

Important documents

Frequently asked questions

Trade waste is any wastewater discharged from commercial, industrial, laboratory or trade activities, specifically excluding any wastewater discharged from private residential premises.

In accordance with our Water and Sewerage Licence we are empowered to manage trade waste by the Water Act 1989. The role of ourTrade Waste is to provide a commercially viable and customer focused trade waste transfer service while not accepting waste that doesn't meet with our requirements. It also manages the Trade Waste Agreement process and associated matters.

All trade waste customers require a trade waste consent prior to any discharge commencing. This is required by law and is necessary in order to effectively manage the risks associated with the trade waste. The consent is essentially a performance contract between the customer and South East Water.

There are essentially six types of Trade Waste Consents:

  • Industrial trade waste consent: Issued to all industrial trade waste customers that produce trade waste effluent that is considered a medium to high risk.
  •  Industrial trade waste consent: Provided to industrial trade waste customers that are considered low in risk.
  • Commercial trade waste consent: Primarily targeted to manage the risks associated with the disposal of greasy food waste into the sewer from commercial food premises such as restaurants, cafe's, bakeries, take away food outlets, butchers, etc. 
  • Food waste agreement: Designed specifically for customers who dispose food waste to sewer via food disposal units, and potato and vegetable peelers.
  •  Tankered waste consent: Allows EPA licensed waste transporters to cart and dispose of waste from septic tanks to specified sewage dumping points, at specified times.
  • Emergency trade waste consent: This covers circumstances when a special one - off Trade Waste Discharge Agreement may be issued to a customer for a limited period of time.

A variation (C-SAC:Customer Specific Acceptance Criteria) to a consent may be issued in circumstances where a customer is unable to comply with its limits. The customer is required to submit a detailed letter applying for a variation, specifying the actual limits required determined through a sampling program, as well as how the limits were derived and what has been done to try and reduce the actual discharge level.

We assign all trade waste customers a risk ranking based on their business activities, trade waste volume and quality, their history and their location in relation to proximity to a sewage treatment plant. The ranking system ranges from one to five. Risk rank one customers pose the highest risk and risk rank five customers the least. It also determines the frequency of site inspections and self monitoring.

Occasionally a trade waste customer may fail to comply with one or more of the conditions set out in their trade waste consent. In these circumstances, we have the ability under the Water Industry Act and Water Industry Regulations to issue a Notice of Non-Compliance to the customer. South East Water uses a three-stage non-compliance process outlined on the reverse side of a non-compliance notice accordingly. See a sample non-compliance notice. 

Site inspections are carried out regularly, and the Trade Waste Officer will take a sample of the trade waste effluent if there is a discharge to sewer and verify the maintenance and operation of site specific control devices used to treat that effluent to a compliant standard. 

Site inspections provide an opportunity for South East Water and the customer to discuss any trade waste issues, such as contditions contained within the discharge contsent, billing, waste management and cleaner production options.

All trade waste consents have a Schedule of Standards, including a C-SAC (Customer Specific Acceptance Criteria), listing the site specific trade waste discharge limits to the sewerage system. An example of the Schedule of Standards can be seen within a sample trade waste consent

You can view the Statement of Approved Acceptance Criteria here.

Prices and charges

Check to see our prices and charges for business customers. 

Managing trade waste

Find out more about your responsibilities and what's involved with managing trade waste. 

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