Liquid Trade Waste

Liquid Trade waste means all liquid material other than domestic sewerage. This includes liquid waste from:

  • All business, commercial and industrial premises connected to the sewerage system.
  • Community and public premises such as clubs, schools, colleges, education facilities, and hospitals.
  • Saleyards, racecourses, stables and kennels that are not associated with domestic households.
  • Any commercial activity carried out within a residential premises.

Council requirements and produces for liquid trade waste management are outlined in Cowra Council’s Liquid Trade Waste Policy(PDF, 661KB). This policy is based on the NSW Office of Water Liquid Trade Waste Guidelines 2021(PDF, 15MB).

To find out more about liquid trade waste and the requirements for your business activity or next development proposal, explore the FAQ’s below.


(DOC, 158KB)Liquid Trade Waste Application Form(PDF, 143KB)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Liquid Trade Waste Approval?

If you have an existing business, or you are proposing a new business activity, and that activity generates liquid waste that is discharged to the sewerage system, then it is a legal requirement that you lodge a Liquid Trade Waste Application with Council. 

If your business activity only generates liquid waste from toilets, hand wash basins, showers and bath wastes, then you do not need to lodge a Liquid Trade Waste Application. 

Common types of business activities in Cowra that require a Liquid Trade Waste Approval include:

  • Restaurants
  • Takeaway food premises
  • Cafes / bakeries. 
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Clubs
  • Mechanical workshops
  • Truck depots
  • Car wash / detailers
  • Child care centres
  • Panel beaters
  • Service Stations
  • Beauticians
  • Florists
  • Equipment Hire, maintenance and cleaning
  • Lawnmower repairs
  • Motorcycles repairs
  • Butchers
  • Function centres
  • Dentists
  • Dry Cleaners
  • Hairdressers
  • Glass manufacturers
  • Laundromats
  • Metal processing
  • Optical services
  • Printers

If you are unsure about the trade waste requirements of your business, please contact Council’s Infrastructure and Operations Department on (02) 6340 2070. A Council officer will assist you in determining whether you need to lodge an application.

Why is regulation of Liquid Trade Waste important?

Council regulates liquid trade waste dischargers so waste does not:

  • Cause problems for the sewage treatment process.
  • Compromise the health and safety of council workers
  • Damage Council’s infrastructure and assets.
  • Significantly increase maintenance costs.
  • Overflow the sewerage system.
  • Cause significant odour complaints.
  • Harm the environment.
  • Harm public health and safety. 
  • Degrade effluent and biosolid quality and management.

What are the general requirements for Liquid Trade Waste Dischargers?

If your business discharges a liquid trade waste to the sewerage system, this waste will generally need to undergo a process of pre-treatment before it is discharged. As a condition of Council’s Liquid Trade Waste Approval for your business, your business will need to have installed all required pre-treatment devices. 

The type of pre-treatment devices that are required for your business will depend on the nature of the business activity, the contaminants in the liquid trade waste, and the volume and strength of the liquid trade waste.

Common types of private business activities in Cowra and the types of pre-treatment typically required for each activity is listed below:

  • Restaurants / Food Premises – Grease trap / sink screens / floor waste baskets
  • All types of Mechanical repairs – Oil separators / fixed screens / settlement pits
  • Motels / Hotels / Clubs – Grease trap / sink screens / floor waste baskets
  • Car Washing / Detailing – Oil separators / fixed screens / settlement pits
  • Hairdressers / Beauticians – sink screens, floor waste baskets

Council’s Infrastructure & Operations Department can provide further advice on the type of pre-treatment devices that will be needed to ensure your business complies with all Liquid Trade Waste requirements. Please contact (02) 6340 2070.

What fees are associated with Liquid Trade Waste?

If your business discharges liquid trade waste to the sewerage system, the following fees will apply:

1. Application Fee
2. Renewal Fee
3. Annual Trade Waste Fee
4. Annual Usage Charge

These fees are explained further below:

Application Fee

The application fee is currently set at $103.00 and a renewal fee is $51.00 in accordance with Council’s 2022/2023 Revenue Policy. The same application fee applies to all business lodging a Liquid Trade Waste Application. 

Annual Trade Waste Fee

The annual trade waste fee covers the cost of Council carrying out an annual inspection of your business premises to ensure that you are complying with conditions of your approval. Your business will be charged one of the following fees, set in accordance with Council’s 2022/2023 Revenue Policy, depending on the nature of your business activity:

  • Category 1 Discharger - $113.50 – this fee applies to dischargers requiring minimal pre-treatment with low impact on the sewerage system. For example – Florists, beauticians.
  • Category 2 Discharger - $226.50 – this fee applies to dischargers with prescribed pre-treatment. This is the most common category for businesses in Cowra. For example – restaurants & food premises, mechanical workshops, motels & hotels and car washes. 
  • Category 3 Discharger - $761.50 – this fee applies to larger dischargers requiring more complex pre-treatment. For example – large industrial businesses. 

Annual Usage Charge

The annual usage charge is calculated based on the total volume of liquid trade waste that your business discharges to the sewerage system. This charge covers the cost of treating the liquid trade waste at Council’s sewage treatment plant.

To calculate the total volume of liquid trade waste, it will be assumed (based on guidelines developed by the NSW DPI Water) that a certain percentage of your daily average water consumption is liquid trade waste. The remaining percentage is deemed to be used for domestic purposes (i.e. toilets, hand basins, kitchens, showers etc.) 

Council’s 2023/2024 Revenue Policy sets a usage charge of $2.00/KL for businesses that have installed the required pre-treatment devices, and $17.50/KL for businesses that have not installed the required pre-treatment devices.

Are there penalties for not complying with trade waste requirements?

If your business is discharging a liquid trade waste to the sewerage system without an approval, or in non-compliance with the conditions of an approval, your business is committing an offence and Council has legal powers to issue a fine, penalty notice, clean-up notice or prevention notice. Council also has the legal power to revoke your approval or disconnect your trade waste service. 

Also, if your business is found to be discharging liquid trade waste without approval, or in non-compliance with the conditions of an approval, Council will charge a non-complying fee. Council’s 2023/2024 revenue policy current sets this fee at $17.50/KL of liquid trade waste.

In accordance with section 103 of the Local Government Act 1993, renewal of an approval is required every five years.

Is there someone at Council who can help?

If you are unsure as to whether your business requires a Liquid Trade Waste Approval, or you would like further information about liquid trade waste in general, please contact Council’s Infrastructure and Operations Department on (02) 6340 2070