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Sewerage and recycled water

Your sewage is piped to one of the city's four sewage treatment plants and treated to a high grade recycled water which can be used for non-drinking purposes.

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Trade waste

Chef with his arms crossed

Trade waste is liquid waste generated from any industry, business, trade or manufacturing premises, other than domestic sewage from a hand basin, shower, bath, toilet or other domestic fixture.

In some cases, trade waste may contain toxic or harmful substances, such as oil, heavy metals, solids, organic solvents or chlorinated organics. Uncontrolled or illegal discharge of trade waste causes serious problems in the sewerage system – flooding and overloading, blockages, corrosion, hazardous work environments, even failure of sewage purification processes.

City of Gold Coast is responsible for preventing these contaminants from entering the sewerage system, ensuring that the health and safety of the community and the environment are protected.

Guided by the latest industry standards and understanding of best practice trade waste management, our trade waste guidelines ensure the responsible management of resources and waste for the benefit of future generations.

Overview of trade waste guidelines

  • We have a fair, simple and transparent charging framework that actively encourages cleaner production from our local industries, based on 'user pays' and 'polluter pays'.
  • We aim to protect the environment, the community and our people by improving the quality of trade waste discharge.
  • We manage and monitor your trade waste effectively and efficiently to reduce the demand on resources.
  • We are committed to working with all trade waste producers to manage trade waste responsibly, ensuring the health and safety of the community and the environment are protected.

For more information find the frequently asked questions below.

Applying for approval to discharge trade waste

It is an offence under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 to discharge trade waste to the sewer without a trade waste approval. Financial penalties may apply.

If more than one trade waste producer operates from a single property, each trade waste producer must submit an application for trade waste approval.

Trade waste approvals are not transferable. When a trade waste business changes ownership, the existing approval is terminated and the new tenant/ owner must apply for a new approval where required.

For trade waste producing businesses that lease or rent premises, the content of the property owner or their agent is required to generate trade waste on that premise.

If you have more than one grease arrestor, you must complete separate application for each arrestor. The minimum size required for the City for a grease arrestor is 1000 litres. If you have a steam roast oven/combi oven, you must allow an additional 1000 litres of spare capacity. These devices will usually require connection to a minimum 3000 litre grease arrestor.

Submit an application for trade waste approval.

For more information you can contact us on 1300 000 928.

Please note: if you are renting or leasing your business premises, your trade waste application form must be signed by the property owner or their agent.

Pre-treatment guidelines

The City requires most trade waste to be treated prior to entering the sewerage system. Pre-treatment of trade waste ensures the removal of many of the contaminants that are harmful to people, the environment and the sewerage infrastructure.

Generally, this will require the installation of adequately-sized pre-treatment equipment such as grease arrestors, oily water separators or dry basket arrestors.

For example, a grease arrestor is required at every commercial premise where there is washing of crockery, cutlery and utensils associated with food preparation or servery. This means all restaurants, cafes and eateries must have a grease arrestor installed.

As a trade waste producer, you must comply with all pre-treatment requirements as set out in the pre-treatment guidelines, the sewer admission standards and your trade waste approval.

Variation to the sewerage discharge factor application form

The industry specific discharge factor is used to determine the amount of water that enters a property (through a water meter) that is then discharged to the sewer. This calculation is used to estimate the volume of water that a business, industry or manufacturer discharges to sewer, and from this, their volumetric trade waste costs.

Business owners are able to apply for a variation to this discharge factor if they feel it is not representative of the amount of water that they send to sewer. The sewage discharge factor variation standards set out the steps you must take if you wish to apply for a variation.

Before making the decision to apply for a variation, business owners should consider:

  • practicality of installing a sewage metering device
  • costs involved
  • accessibility of the sewerage infrastructure to install the metering devices in the right position to measure all water discharged to sewer, in an area where access is not restricted.

Find the link to the sewage discharge factor variation standards and the application form below.

Electronic recording and reporting of wastewater - WasteID

We have a system (WasteID) to record and report on the collection and disposal of tankered wastewater (trade waste). This system assists the City and transporters to efficiently track and report tankered trade waste movements, and allows property owners and trade waste generators to monitor collection of their trade waste.

A web portal is accessible by all trade waste generators to:

  • Confirm pre-treatment devices (grease arrestors, silt traps and oily water separators) are regularly serviced as required by individual trade waste approvals.
  • Monitor and track the collection of trade waste.
  • Access information.
  • Highlight any issues with the devices or repairs required.
  • Receive automatic notifications.

For more information please see our WasteID fact sheet and frequently asked questions.

Wastewater Receival Stations and trade waste pre-treatment devices have QR2id location plates installed which allows trade waste transporters to record when they collect trade waste using a smart phone or tablet with a minimum five megapixel camera, running apple iOS, android or windows.

The following short video shows how a tankered wastewater driver will use WasteID.

Find the link to the sewage discharge factor variation standards and the application form below.

Jump to key information
  • Do I produce trade waste?

    The most common types of trade waste do not contain toxic or harmful substances and are produced every day from businesses such as cafes and restaurants, mechanical workshops, shopping centres, theme parks, hotels and food processing and manufacturing premises. Common activities that produce trade waste include rinsing and washing utensils and dishes, equipment and vehicle cleaning, preparing surfaces for metal finishing and food processing.

    If you are a business owner or operator who generates wastewater from a business activity, it is likely you are producing trade waste.

    See our trade waste approval checklist.

  • What is a trade waste approval?

    A trade waste approval is a legal contract between the property owner, the trade waste producer and the City. The approval sets out the conditions you must adhere to for discharging trade waste into the sewerage system. If you are a trade waste producer, you must apply to the City for a trade waste approval before discharging to sewer.

  • How do I apply?

    Simply fill in the attached trade waste approval application form. You can also obtain the application form in person at any City customer service centre or by calling 07 5667 5801 or 1300 000 928.

    If you are renting or leasing your business premises, your trade waste application form must be signed by the property owner or their agent. The trade waste application form is available on our trade waste page.

  • How will the new guidelines affect my trade waste charges?

    Properties which have trade waste producers are now classified by an industry group. Industry groups are numbered 0-3 which will indicate the increase to your quarterly non-residential sewage charge.

    Industry group 0: no increase

    Industry group 1: five per cent increase

    Industry group 2: 10 per cent increase

    Industry group 3: 15 per cent increase

    Trade waste is charged to the property complex, not the individual trade waste producer within a property. Please liaise with your property owner or landlord to determine how the charges will be passed on. 

  • How do I know what industry group I belong to?

    Industry group classifications can be located in the load factor calculations document, which is appendix 3 of the trade waste guidelines.

  • Is it possible to change industry groups?

    Yes. For each two year period of full compliance, your industry group score will automatically be reduced by 1 point (which is a five per cent decrease on your non-residential sewage charge).

    It is possible for your industry group score to reduce from 3 to 2 and then from 2 to 1 following a further 2 years of full compliance. Your industry group score will not reduce below 1.

    Contact our trade waste section for advice on how you could be eligible for an industry group reclassification if additional controls are implemented to ensure your discharge quality will remain within the sewer admissions standards.


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