Liquid Trade Waste

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Liquid Trade Waste

Liquid Trade Waste

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Coffs Harbour City Council is responsible for the approval and monitoring of liquid trade waste discharges to the sewerage system.


​​Liquid Trade Waste means any liquid, and any substances contained in it, which may be produced at the premises from an industrial or commercial activity. This excludes domestic waste from a hand basin, shower, bath or toilet from a residential premises or generated by persons using domestic fixtures at the workplace. Due to its concentration levels, liquid trade waste may require pre-treatment prior to being discharged into the sewerage system.​​


​Sewerage systems are generally designed to cater for waste from domestic sources that are essentially of predictable strength and quality. However, trade waste by comparison may exert greater demands on sewerage systems and, if uncontrolled, may harm public health, worker safety, the environment and the city's sewerage system.

There are many substances which may harm the environment, public health or the sewer system. The more we keep out of the sewerage system, the better it is for the environment. Certain substances are prohibited from sewer.​​


​Yes. Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993 states that a person must obtain the prior approval of Coffs Harbour City Council for sewerage connections and the discharge of trade waste to sewer. Coffs Harbour City Council has adopted a Trade Waste Policy that identifies the requirements that must be met by the business community in respect to liquid trade waste.

If you intend to conduct a business activity that generates liquid trade waste, you will first need to submit a Trade Waste Application Form​, attach all requested information and be granted an approval before discharging any liquid trade waste.

Examples of some industries that generate liquid trade waste are laundries, restaurants, butchers, food processors, metal finishers, service stations and chemical manufacturers.

Before proceeding with an Application, please review the Trade Waste Policy and current Council Fees and Charges. It is also recommended you contact Council's Liquid Trade Waste Officers for a pre-application consultation. 

By controlling trade waste discharges, Coffs Harbour City Council, together with its customers, is helping to protect the environment, public health and reduce sewerage operating and maintenance costs for ratepayers.

For further information contact Council on 02 6648 4000. ​


​Any business discharging liquid trade waste into a Council sewer must obtain prior approval from Council. If more than one trade waste generator exists on a property, then a separate Liquid Trade Waste Application Form is to be submitted for each generator.

The Approval process involves five steps:

  • Pre-application consultation with Council's Trade Waste Officers.

  • Receiving the application, including payment, at Customer Services.

  • Assessing the application.

  • Seeking concurrence, which may involve seeking concurrence from the NSW Office of Water.

  • Finalising the determination of Classifications, Charge Categories and Approval conditions.

Before proceeding with an Application, please review the Trade Waste Policy and current Council Fees and Charges. It is also recommended you contact Council's Liquid Trade Waste Officers for a pre-application consultation on 02 6648 4000. ​

Important Details for Applicants 

Either the property owner or the tenant who carries out an activity on the property may apply for a Liquid Trade Waste Approval. The Approval is issued to the applicant. 

However, Council prefers the applicant to be the person who has responsibility for the pre-treatment equipment or control over the day-to-day operations of the business. 

A new Approval is required where:

  • The applicant is the property owner and sells the property.

  • The applicant is the business owner and sells the business.

  • There is a change of activity.       

  • The Approval conditions have changed.       

  • The Approval has expired (the approval is more than five years old).

  • Where the applicant is the business owner and the property is sold, the new property owner is required to sign a consent form acknowledging their responsibilities relating to the trade waste agreement.​

Responsibilities of the Liquid Trade Waste Discharger

A Liquid Trade Waste generator is responsible for pre-treating their waste to a level acceptable for discharge to the sewer. To assist Applicants, Council can provide information on the type of pre-treatment needed for various liquid trade waste generating activities. 

Both the Property Owner (or Authorised Agent) and the Trade Waste generator are required to sign the Application for an Approval.  Both the Property Owner and Trade Waste generator are to retain a copy of the Approval so that all parties are aware of their responsibilities. Failure to provide all relevant Application information will result in delays in processing of the Liquid Trade Waste Approval.

Find the forms on the forms page.

For a Classification S Application form or further information contact Council on 02 6648 4000.​​​​


Different Liquid Trade Waste discharges will attract different charges depending on the specific 'Classification' and 'Charge Category' applied to each business by the Liquid Trade Waste Officers, in accordance with the New South Wales Liquid Trade Waste Regulation Guidelines.

The fees and charges are set on an annual basis and adopted by Council as part of the Council's Management Plan. Refer to our fees and charges for current information. 


Classification A or AA 
Examples include Butcher, Café, Club, Fast Food Outlet, Hotel / Motel, Dental Surgery, Mechanical Workshop. Businesses with low water usage and low concentration levels of wastewater.

Classification B 
Examples include Bus Depot, Hospital, Panel Beating / Smash Repairer, Radiator Repairs. Businesses where pre-treatment is required and discharge concentration levels exceed that of Classification A. Council has to obtain permission from the State Government to approve this classification.

Classification C 
Examples include Brewery, Engine/Gearbox Reconditioning, Fibreglass, Fish Co-op, Galvanising, Printing, Slipway. Businesses that have high water usage and/or high concentration levels of wastewater. The pre-treatment equipment may be complex depending on the nature of the activity. Council has to obtain permission from the State Government to approve this classification.

Classification S  
Businesses that accept, transport and discharge approved wastewater such as septic tank pump outs, chemical toilet waste, etc into the sewerage system. Council has to obtain permission from the State Government to approve this classification.

Charge Categories:  

Category 1

  • an activity deemed by Council as requiring nil or minimal pre-treatment equipment and whose discharge is a relatively low risk to the sewerage system. 

  • dischargers requiring pre-treatment but with a low impact on the sewerage system.

Category 2

  • an activity deemed by Council as requiring a prescribed type of pre-treatment and whose discharge has been identified and characterised.

Category 2S

  • an activity of transporting and discharging approved wastewater such as septic tank pump outs, chemical toilet waste, etc into the sewerage system.

Category 3

  • an activity which is of an industrial nature and/or results in the discharge of large volumes (over 20kL per day)  into the sewerage system.

  • any Category 1 or 2 generator whose discharge volume exceeds 20kL per day becomes a Charge Category 3, with some exceptions.  


Further Information​


​"Pre-treatment" is the process which removes contaminants from wastewater (eg. grease and oil) prior to discharging it to the sewerage system.  

Prescribed pre-treatment equipment includes devices such as sink screens/strainers, which are used in businesses such as hairdressing salons, and grease arrestors that are installed in businesses where the activity produces oily and fatty wastes, such as a restaurant or takeaway food outlet. 

The pre-treatment process and installation of equipment is essential in the regulation of trade waste because it assists in reducing the concentration levels of substances discharged from business activities to levels that the sewerage system can effectively transport and treat.  

If a business fails to comply with pollutant concentration limits as set out in Council's Trade Waste Policy, then a non-compliance or excess mass charge will apply (refer to Council's current fees & charges​ and your water account).

For further information on recommended pre-treatment equipment contact Council on 02 6648 4000.


The correct management of Liquid Trade Waste and proper maintenance will result in a compliant discharge and a cleaner environment.

The following housekeeping tips may be helpful in training staff and achieving a better quality liquid trade waste discharge:  

  • Never put cooking oil or fats down the drain. This will cause your grease arrestor pump outs to rise significantly which in turn will cost you more. It can also clog pipes, overflow sewers and cause odours.
  • Use trays to catch fat, grease and oil.  
  • Always store used cooking oil and fat in secure containers in a bunded area and must be removed and disposed of in an approved manner by a licenced contractor.  
  • Maintain access to grease arrestors and pre-treatment equipment at all times.  
  • Do not store oil drums and equipment on top of grease arrestors.
  • Use minimal grease and oil for cooking. 
  • Scarping utensils and dishes in the garbage bin or compost before washing.  
  • Install screens and basket arrestors in sinks and floor drains. 
  • Use a broom and mop for washing floors, not the hose.
  • Use high pressure hoses or hoses with trigger nozzles for washing vehicles and equipment.
  • Use water sparingly, efficiently, recycle whenever possible.
  • Use water efficient appliances.
  • Don’t leave taps or hoses running. Generally, a fully open tap will supply approximately 0.3 Litres/second (or 1000 Litres/hour).​