Dealing with Trade Waste
Townsville Water provides a liquid trade waste disposal service for commercial and industrial waste.
The service is designed to promote environmental sustainability and safeguard public health - consistent with Townsville City Council's responsibilities and obligations under Queensland legislation.
We are currently working to establish a comprehensive and standardised trade waste policy across the amalgamated city.
The below information is applicable to businesses located in the area covered by the former Townsville City Council, and will be updated once a new policy has been formulated.
Requesting a Trade Waste Application Online
To request a trade waste application form click on the following link and complete the relevant information.
- Trade Waste Online Application Request
Townsville Water will send the application pack to the postal address indicated on the form, along with any follow up correspondence for the life of the approval. Please include all relevant details of the business from which trade waste will be discharged.
What is Trade Waste?
Liquid waste generated by industry, small business and commercial enterprises is referred to as trade waste. It may have an organic strength many times that of domestic sewage and may overload public treatment facilities.
Trade waste may also contain other substances such as high levels of fats and grease, heavy metals, organic solvents and chlorinated organic substances which sewerage systems are not designed to treat. In Queensland, the Water Supply (Safety & Reliability) Act 2008 regulates trade waste discharge. Prior to discharging trade waste to council's sewer, the Act requires trade waste generators obtain approval from council. All approvals are subject to conditions contained in council's trade waste policy and are usually valid for a period of no longer than three years. Conditions include such things as sewer admission limits and the service frequency of any pre-treatment devices.
Trade Waste Policy
The Townsville City Council's new liquid trade waste policy came into effect on July 28, 2009.
The policy recognises we all have a part to play in protecting our waterways and that local industry will need to pay its fair share towards this community effort.
By ensuring a level playing field, the 'polluter pays' principle of the new policy rewards good corporate citizens and promotes sustainable waste management practices by local industry.
Please follow this link to find a copy of our Trade Waste Policy.
Why is the new Trade Waste Policy being implemented?
Townsville Water provides a sewerage system primarily for transporting and treating domestic sewage. Payment for this service is collected through sewerage charges on each rateable property.
The treatment of trade waste places a significantly increased load on councils’ sewerage distribution system and sewage treatment plants due to complex components that require treatment.
Trade waste components may:
- Pose a serious risk to the safety and health of sewerage workers
- Damage the infrastructure of the sewer system
- Inhibit biological processes at the treatment plant
- Accumulate in biosolids, making their reuse difficult or impracticable or
- Pass through the plant untreated resulting in environmental contamination.
- As trade waste imposes an additional load on the sewer system, trade waste charges will begin to apply through a 'polluter pays' policy.
An industry category system will ensure a level playing field for like-for-like businesses and also reflect the differing waste impacts of businesses in different industries.
This will ensure generators of trade waste, and not ratepayers, pay for what they use. The new policy is fair and equitable and encourages good corporate environmental awareness.
How will Townsville Water help businesses?
Townsville Water will assist businesses through ongoing awareness, educational and operational activities and support.
A dedicated trade waste section is working with businesses to develop clean, environmentally aware trade waste practices in an effort to reduce the associated treatment costs.
This section actively participates in on-site waste minimisation assessments, trade waste specific water measuring and advise on potential process and pre-treatment improvements to reduce trade waste discharge to council's sewer.
Recommendations for business-driven improvements
Businesses may take proactive steps to minimise their impact on council's sewer system.
Some general rules of thumb are:
- Regularly maintain pre-treatment equipment
- Contain as much waste as possible onsite for alternative disposal
- Dry wipe plates and utensils before washing up
- Install water saving fittings and fixtures in kitchens
- Use high pressure washing equipment for washing vehicles
- Consider recycling some waste water for processes in your business.
All pre-treatment devices require maintenance and cleaning. Accumulated residual waste needs to be removed by a licensed contractor at defined intervals (defined by council). Pre-treatment devices include :
- Grease traps
- Solid interceptor traps
- Transfer stations
- Untreated water collection tanks
- Corrugated plate interceptors
- Hydro cyclone separation systems
- Others subject to council approval.
Sampling and monitoring
Townsville Water maintains an annual sampling program where the wastewater discharged from businesses which generate trade waste is sampled and analysed to monitor compliance with council’s sewer admission limits. Authorised council officers also take random samples to investigate and locate problems in council's sewer system. All samples are tested and processed at our N.A.T.A. certified laboratory.
Site inspections are carried out as required to obtain information concerning a generator's pre-treatment device(s) and a better understanding of their business. The inspector may take samples, photos, and ask questions while taking notes and sketching diagrams using a site inspection form.
Frequently asked questons
Do I need a permit (a trade waste approval) for my business?
If your business discharges any waste to council sewer that is not specifically domestic waste then there is a chance you are discharging trade waste and will require a permit. If you are unsure of the nature of the waste you discharge to council's sewer it is best to contact the Trade Waste Group within Townsville Water on 1300 878 001 and check with them.
What is a grease trap?
A grease trap is a pre-treatment device that separates fats, oils, grease and solids from the wastewater by cooling, causing the congealed grease to rise to the surface of the grease trap. The baffles in the trap slows the water flow so that the solids settle to the bottom of the trap.
Should I have a grease trap or an arrestor?
Grease traps are used in the food industry such as Hotels/Motels, Restaurants, Cafes, Butchers, Bakers, Schools (canteens) and Takeaways.
Who is responsible for servicing a grease trap?
The trade waste generator is responsible for getting the grease trap serviced by a council approved licensed contractor.
Who should have an oil/water separator?
Any workshop that has a wash bay or any other discharge to sewer from pits and machinery.
Who is responsible for servicing a separator?
The trade waste generator is responsible for getting their separator serviced by a council approved licensed contractor.
How long does a trade waste approval last?
A trade waste approval lasts for a period of five years after which time a new approval will be negotiated with the generator.
What is the renewal notice for?
A renewal notice is a form required to be filled out and returned to council to facilitate the update of council files for a trade waste generator's business and any changes to their processes. It also includes a copy of the service agreement. A service agreement is the documentation between the Waste Generator and the Licensed Contractor commissioning their services.
What does Townsville City Council's trade waste section do?
With the aid of Trade Waste Approvals, council's trade waste section helps control discharges to sewers to protect council's sewers and sewage treatment plants. As a result this helps maintain a healthy community and environment. The section's responsibilities include:
- maintaining trade waste accounts revenue
- Council's first point of contact for the public, trade waste generators and other industry concerning trade waste issues
- investigation of complaints and problems by members of the public including illegal connections and prohibited discharges
- reducing sewer admission limits, discharge quality and quantity.
What are my roles and responsibilities as a trade waste customer?
As a trade waste customer, it is necessary to take all appropriate actions to ensure compliance with the trade waste approval l at all times. Compliance means different things to different customers, trade waste approvals vary between businesses and depends on size, type and quality of discharge from the business. However for all trade waste customers it is essential to:
- have a current trade waste approval
- comply with sewer admission limits set out in the approval and the Trade Waste Policy
- supply council's trade waste unit with a copy of the service agreement with any liquid waste contractors and for each service of other pre-treatment devices
- inform the trade waste unit of any changes to business activities; and
- use quick-break detergents and degreasers.
Office is located at Garbutt Operations Centre, Dalrymple Road, Garbutt
For more information please phone the Customer Service Centre on 1300 878 001 or send an email to Townsville Water.