Trade Waste

What is trade waste?

Trade waste is waterborne waste from any commercial or industrial activity that is discharged to the sewer.

Trade waste excludes domestic wastewater, for example toilets, showers, hand washing and non-commercial kitchens.

The owner of the property is the trade waste approval holder, as per the Townsville City Council Trade Waste Management Plan. Property owners are charged separately on their rates notice for trade waste discharged to the sewerage system.

Who needs a trade waste approval?

The sewerage system is specifically engineered for the disposal of domestic waste. If a business operating from a commercial, industrial, or private property intends to discharge wastewater to the sewer system (excluding domestic sources such as toilets, showers, hand washing, and non-commercial kitchens), the property owner must obtain a trade waste approval.

How to apply for a trade waste approval

You must apply for a trade waste approval when new trade waste is generated and discharged to Council’s sewerage system from your premises.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Council early in a project cycle to ensure required pre-treatment equipment is appropriately designed and installed. Council does not take any responsibility for new developments that have inadequate or under-sized pre-treatment.

To apply for or amend a trade waste approval, you will need to submit an application to discharge trade waste:

A trade waste approval must be issued before any associated hydraulic approval is granted or operations under a food licence commence.

Trade waste charges

To recover the cost of managing the additional load trade waste imposes on the sewerage system, trade waste charges apply. Charges are based on the nature of the waste generated and the risk that the discharge poses to the sewerage system.

Each customer is charged an annual access fee and, in most cases, a volume charge, levied on the twice-yearly council rate notices as a utility charge.

For more information, see the Townsville City Council's Schedule of Fees and Charges.

More information

The Trade Waste Policy identifies the guiding principles, whereas the Trade Waste Management Plan sets out the way in which Council will manage trade waste discharged to Council’s sewer.

These documents are also available for download:

For more information on trade waste, contact the Assets and Hydraulics Unit on 13 48 10 or

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