Liquid Trade Waste

The Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 defines 'liquid trade waste' as 'all liquid waste other than sewage of a domestic nature'.

All business activities generating liquid trade waste must have current City of Coffs Harbour approval and maintain the appropriate equipment necessary to treat any liquid waste before it enters our sewerage system. We generally grant approval for a period of 5 years at which point you must reapply.

City of Coffs Harbour regulates liquid trade waste discharges in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of our staff, the public, and the environment
  • Protect wastewater system infrastructure, assets, and sewerage treatment processes to protect the effluent and biosolid quality for facilitation of recycling
  • Reduce maintenance costs and odour complaints

This includes liquid waste generated from:

  • Industrial premises
  • Businesses and commercial premises such as hotels, motels, restaurants, takeaway stores, butchers, service stations, mechanical workshops, vehicle wash facilities, supermarkets, dentists
  • Community and public premises such as pools, schools, colleges, education facilities, hospitals and nursing homes
  • Septic tank waste, marine pump-out facilities and established sites for the discharge of chemical toilet or pan contents from mobile homes, caravans or portaloos

If your business falls into one of these categories, you will be required to pre-treat your liquid trade waste prior to discharging into our sewerage system.

If you are lodging a development application (DA), you will need to meet trade waste conditions to get a construction certificate. We encourage you to call a trade waste officer to discuss the requirements before lodging your DA. Purchasing or starting a new business without a DA, you must seek approval by completing an application form.

Before starting your application, please read the City's Liquid Trade Waste Policy and Liquid Trade Waste Procedure.

Why I Need Approval and Associated Charging

Business activities can produce large amounts of solids, oil, grease, and other substances which if discharged directly into the sewerage system can overload the system or cause blockages.

City of Coffs Harbour must regulate the discharge of liquid trade waste in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of our staff, the public, and the environment
  • Protect wastewater system infrastructure, assets, and sewerage treatment processes to protect the effluent and biosolid quality for facilitation of recycling
  • Reduce maintenance costs and odour complaints

Approval to discharge liquid trade waste into Council's sewerage system is a requirement under Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. Failure to obtain approval or failure to comply with the conditions of an approval, may lead to prosecution under Section 626 and 627 of the Local Government Act 1993. 

To obtain approval, customers must submit the relevant application based on the business activity which may include providing information such as a site plan and/or drainage diagram.

Best practice pricing is implemented to ensure dischargers bare a fare share of the cost of providing sewerage services and to facilitate appropriate pre-treatment waste minimisation and water conservation.

Liquid trade waste fees and charges are in addition to non-residential sewer usage charges and are issued on the land owners quarterly water account. They include:

  • Annual service charge to help recover costs incurred by council for ongoing administration and scheduled inspections, and to ensure that the discharge complies with the approval conditions.
  • Usage charge is a price per kilolitre applied to the volume of wastewater discharged to the sewerage system. The discharge amount is based on a percentage of the amount of incoming water. The usage charge will depend on the charging category and the business activity.



Liquid Trade Waste Application Form

Step 1.Submit the application form

Complete and submit the application form below, pay the fee specified in the form. You can find application fees and ongoing discharge costs in our fees and charges

If you do not own the property, you will need to include approval from the owner (there is a link to the form in the application below). In doing this, the land owner acknowledges the business activities proposed for their land, and accepts responsibility for ongoing liquid trade waste and sewer charges. They may seek to recoup costs.

Please note: An application cannot proceed without the consent of the land owner.

 Liquid Trade Waste Application Form


A trade waste officer will contact you to discuss our requirements for approval. They will also classify your business according to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's (DPIE) Liquid Trade Waste Guidelines. 

Step 2.Submit the approval form

We will provide you with your classification and a link to the appropriate application form. You will need pay the approval fee and detail your business activities, liquid wastes, the trade waste pre-treatment devices.

We will use this information to assess whether your business meets the requirements. DPIE may need to confirm concurrence for classification B, C or S businesses. 

If approved, we will send you and the property owner a letter outlining terms and conditions specific to your business. 

Failure to comply

Additional charges may apply if your business does not hold a current approval, or you fail to meet the conditions of your existing approval.

Pre-treatment Equipment

Pre-treatment is achieved by using a device or piece of equipment to treat the liquid trade waste prior to discharging into the sewerage system. The type of pre-treatment device required is dependent on the nature of the activity and the volume and strength of the liquid trade waste it generates.

Typical pre-treatment devices used for the treatment of liquid trade waste include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Grease arrestor (grease trap)
  • Basket arrestor with fixed screens (dry basket arrestor)
  • Fixed or removable screens
  • Coalescing plate interceptor (CPI oil separator)
  • Vertical gravity separator (VGS separator)
  • Hydrocyclone separation system (HSS separator)
  • Cooling pit
  • Balancing, averaging, neutralising pit/tank
  • Solids settlement pit/silt arrestor
  • Plaster arrestor

City Of Coffs Harbour’s pre-treatment requirements are in accordance with the Liquid Trade Waste Regulation Guidelines 2021 and our Liquid Trade Waste Policy and Procedure.


Helpful Information

Step 1.Substances prohibited from sewer

These substances are prohibited from being discharged to sewer within NSW. For businesses, these prohibited substances are listed in the NSW Liquid Trade Waste Regulation Guidelines and/or the liquid trade waste approval for each business:

  • Organochlorine weedicides, fungicides, pesticides, herbicides and substances of a similar nature and / or wastes arising from the preparation of these substances. 
  • Organophosphorous pesticides and wastes arising from the preparation of these substances.
  • Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • Any substances liable to produce noxious or poisonous vapours in the sewerage system.
  • Organic solvents and mineral oil*
  • Any flammable or explosive substances*
  • Discharges from 'bulk fuel depots'.
  • Discharges from chemicals and / or oil storage areas.
  • Natural or synthetic resins, plastic monomers, synthetic adhesives, rubber and plastic emulsions.
  • Rain, roof, surface, seepage or ground water, unless specifically permitted (clause 137A of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021).
  • Solid matter*
  • Disposable products including wet wipes, cleaning wipes, colostomy bags, cat litter and any other products marketed as flushable. 
  • Any substance assessed as not suitable to be discharged into the sewerage system.
  • Waste liquids that contain pollutants at concentrations which inhibit the sewage treatment process - refer Australian Sewage Quality Management Guidelines (June 2012 - WASA).
  • Any other substances listed in Schedule 5 of Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulations 2009 or any other relevant legislation. 

* above the approved limit.

Step 2.Tips for managing trade waste

Correctly managing trade waste and maintaining equipment means a cleaner environment, will save you money and meet your discharge requirements.

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. 
  • Use trays to catch fat, grease and oil.
  • Always store used cooking oil and fat in secure containers and have it removed and disposed of in an approved manner by a licensed contractor.
  • Maintain access 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. 
  • scrape 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 hses 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 an hour).