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City West Water

What is trade waste?

Understanding trade waste can help you make sure your business complies with our requirements.

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 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.

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.

Agreements contain the terms and conditions under which your trade waste will be accepted.

Examples of businesses and institutions that prepare food are:

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

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.

Examples of other trade waste customers are:

  • meat processing plants
  • food manufacturers
  • metal finishes
  • car washes
  • hospitals
  • laundries and chemical plants.
  • construction sites who need to manage storm or groundwater*

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

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

Deemed customers

Non-residential customers who discharge low volumes of low strength wastewater, similar to a normal residential household, are Deemed customers.

Deemed customers include:

  • Occasional and child care 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 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 - 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 contact us.

A deemed customer does not need to pay trade waste charges or hold a 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 FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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.
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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