What we do

South East Water is responsible for the management and treatment of waste in the sewer system. We do this to protect the environment and human health - it’s another way we’re helping to keep our community healthy and safe.

Our trade waste team assist in supporting our key objectives (see our Statement of Obligation), including:

  • protect the health and safety of people working in the system
  • protect sewerage systems
  • protect the treatment works
  • minimise environmental impacts
  • maximise opportunities for reuse of wastewater
  • maximise opportunities for the reuse of biosolids.

Your responsibilities

If your business discharges trade waste, you must have a trade waste consent. You can easily apply for a consent.


Industrial trade waste

Industrial trade waste is all wastewater discharged to sewer from any business that undertakes industrial processes, other than wastewater from amenities. This includes all manufacturing industries, waste treatment, chemical blending, laundries, mechanical workshops, metal finishing, car washes and many others.

What you need to do

As a trade waste discharger, you have an obligation to:

  • have an up-to-date consent
  • pay trade waste charges
  • self-monitor trade waste discharges
  • maintain trade waste apparatus
  • prevent and address non-compliances
  • prepare waste minimisation plans and risk profiles
  • apply for an Industrial Trade Waste Consent.
Commercial trade waste

Commercial trade waste contains large amounts of food, fat, oil and grease (FFOG), which can solidify in sewers and cause blockages. If your business discharges commercial trade waste, you need a trade waste consent.

It’s an offence to discharge commercial waste without a trade waste consent. We operate a monitoring program to identify offenders. Severe penalties apply, including fines and possible criminal prosecution for breaches.

What you need to do

Before you discharge commercial trade waste, you need to send us a written application and we need to assess your trade waste to make sure it’s acceptable.

For the waste to be acceptable, it must first be pre-treated in a food and oil interceptor of a sufficient size for the volume of waste water you generate.

When submitting an application you’ll be required to provide information about:

  • the nature of your business
  • the number of kitchen fixtures that generate wastewater (such as sinks and dishwashers)
  • the council registered seating capacity.

We’ll use this information to establish the correct size food and oil interceptor for your business. Council approval may also be required for all internal food and oil interceptor installations.

Apply for a Commercial Trade Waste Consent. 

One-off discharge

During the building construction phase you may be required to dispose of stormwater or groundwater (trade waste).

Limited volumes of stormwater or groundwater may be accepted as a trade waste discharge into the sewerage system via appropriate pre-treatment measures and controls.

This acceptance is subject to submission of a formal trade waste application and the pre-requisite technical appraisal conducted by South East Water.

We can only accept this type of disposal during the construction phase and won’t endorse or accept ongoing discharge to sewer after construction is completed.

Apply for a one-off discharge.

Minor trade waste

A business, organisation, or institution may be classified as Minor Trade Waste (MTW) if it is on the Minor Trade Waste Listing Schedule and or meets the definition in the Policy for Food/Commercial Businesses.

Minor trade waste customers can discharge to the sewerage system without applying for a Trade Waste Consent (TWC). This permission is subject to the installation pre-treatment systems and other requirements where needed. These installations are the responsibility of the customer.

Trade waste charges do not apply to minor trade waste customers.

Examples of minor trade waste customers:

  • businesses that sell shelf stable pre-packaged confectionery that have a ‘Class 4’ food license under the Food Act 1984 such as newsagents, pharmacies, discount variety stores, etc.
  • bottle shops
  • hairdresser/beautician
  • pharmacy with a dispensing sink only.

You can learn more about types of minor trade waste customers by reading our Minor trade waste customer listing schedule below.

Food and oil interceptors

If your business is food related, it's a requirement to have trade waste consent and the correctly sized interceptor in place before you start operating.

All food and oil interceptors must be installed by a licensed plumber and comply with the sizing criteria effective 1 August 2017. Whether your business is a takeaway, restaurant, pub or large food manufacturer, it’s important to understand food and oil interceptor requirements.

Learn more about installing a food and oil interceptor.

Cleaner production

At South East Water, we’re always finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact and increase operational efficiencies – and your business can too.

Cleaner production is a business management method which enables organisations to reduce daily operating costs, increase margins, increase productivity and reduce your environmental impact by using fewer raw materials.

Your business can do this by improving the efficiency of raw material and utility demands and limiting the generation of waste products that inflate the costs of production and reduce revenue.

The benefits of cleaner production methods

There are a number of benefits to implementing cleaner production methods, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased profit margins
  • Improved environmental performance
  • Reduced waste storage costs
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Reduced carbon emissions
Six steps for cleaner production

If you’d like your organisation’s production methods to be cleaner, follow these steps:

1. Plan and organise

Develop indicative targets, goals and objectives of what you would like to achieve. For example, you may want to aim for a 10 per cent reduction in waste, water, energy and/or labour costs. Identify the staff who will work on a resource efficiency team.

2. Conduct a site assessment and develop a process map

Use our checklist to conduct a site assessment. Start from where goods enter the factory, through to processing and finally where goods are packaged and stored for delivery.

Develop a flow diagram for the site to identify where materials are travelling throughout the site. This will help conduct a mass balance for the site.

3. Collect and record data

Record and review utility data against production output for the previous two years using our Utility Reporting Worksheet. This will help to identify your business’ performance and develop a snapshot of the current processes for which to benchmark against these changes.

How much does waste really cost you? (Include loss of raw materials, labour, energy, water and trade waste).

4. Develop an action plan

Develop a Resource Management Action Plan and follow these guidelines:

  • Make the plan outcome focused.
  • Make your plan simple and easy to follow.
  • Assign timelines and responsibilities to key personnel.
  • Tackle the simplest, most cost-effective issues first and develop the plan from there.

5. Implement your action plan

When implementing your action plan, keep the following points in mind:

  • Prioritise actions from the most cost-effective with no capital costs to those that may require capital investment.
  • Identify where the largest percentage of waste is being generated and target this area first.
  • Start with opportunities that have direct financial benefits for no capital expenditure.
  • Track and chart all actions and progress.
  • Encourage continuous feedback and rewards for staff.
  • Keep it simple.

6. Monitoring and continuous improvement

Once you’ve implemented the actions, it’s important to monitor performance to look for opportunities for continuous improvement.

  • Monitor and track results
  • Continuous feedback and rewards for staff
  • Look at justifying any capital expenditure with costs saved through the program
  • Set new targets, goals and objectives
  • Start the process again and look for opportunities

Remember this is not a one-off project – it should become part of your business’ daily operations.

Important documents

Trade waste charges

Check to see our prices and charges for trade waste. 

Access our standard drawings

Find and download standard drawings.

Install a food and oil interceptor

Learn about food and oil interceptors and what you might need one for.