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Liquid Trade Waste

Lithgow City Council has a number of statutory responsibilities for the approval of liquid trade waste discharged to the sewerage system. A person wishing to discharge liquid trade waste must first obtain Council’s approval, as stated in Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. Under the Act, Council is responsible for the acceptance of these discharges. It is an offence under Section 626 of the Act for a person to discharge liquid trade waste to the sewerage system without obtaining an approval.

What is liquid trade waste?

Liquid trade waste means all liquid waste other that sewage of a domestic nature.

Liquid trade waste discharges to the sewage system include liquid wastes discharged from

  • Business/commercial premises eg hairdresser, florist, hotel, café, butcher, service station, dentist
  • Community/public premises including craft club, school, college, university, hospital, nursing home
  • Industrial premises
  • Trade activities eg mobile carpet cleaning
  • Any commercial activities carried out at a residential premises
  • Saleyards, racecourses, and from stables and kennels not associated with domestic households.


How this program benefits Lithgow

By controlling liquid trade waste discharges, Lithgow City Council, together with the operators and owners of businesses, are helping to protect the environment and public health as well as reduce costs. The benefits of controlling liquid trade waste include

  • Protecting river systems by reducing the amount of problem substances reaching treatment plants
  • Improving wastewater quality reaching the sewerage treatment plants, allowing our treatment processes to work more effectively and efficiently and not be harmed by sudden shocks of toxic substances
  • Preventing harmful substances from damaging the sewer, disrupting the sewerage treatment plant process or contaminating land and water
  • Reducing sewer overflows and blockages by controlling the amount of grease discharged into the sewer
  • Creating a safer workplace for people who work in and around the sewer

 For further information, please contact Lithgow City Council’s Plumbing, Drainage and Trade Waste Officer in charge of Liquid Trade Waste on 6354 9999..

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to worry about liquid trade waste?

Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993 requires approval to be sought from a Local Government Authority for the discharge of liquid waste to the sewer. The New South Wales Office of Water (NOW) is the state government body responsible for overseeing trade waste approvals under the ACT. The approval documentation sets out the conditions under which Lithgow City Council accepts discharge of liquid trade waste to sewer.

What is Lithgow City Council’s role?

Lithgow City Council’s Liquid Trade Waste Approvals policy was adopted in 2005. This policy concentrates on source control to ensure that all businesses adequately pre-treat their wastewater onsite, before discharge to the sewerage system.

The provision of such a policy is mandatory to enable Council to meet the requirements of the Best Practice Management of Water Supply and Sewerage Guidelines, May 2004. This is critical as for Council to be eligible for subsidy under the Country Towns Water & Sewerage supply schemes (for funding upgrades of the Lithgow LGA sewerage treatment plants). Council was required to comply with the Department of Water & Energy’s Best Practice Management Guidelines including adopting an implementation of a Liquid trade Waste Policy.

Is there a cost associated with this program?

The discharge of liquid trade waste places additional load on the sewerage system. Lithgow City Council has established a user pays charging policy for this discharge. Trade Waste volumes are expressed as a percentage of fresh water consumption. This percentage (trade waste discharge factor) will be determined following an onsite assessment. 

Please check Council’s Fees and Charges for latest costs.

Trade Waste usage charge For commercial premises that have installed and maintained appropriate pre-treatment facilities will be required to pay the following: Trade Waste Usage Charge ($) = volume of liquid trade waste discharged to sewer x $1.60 per kilolitre For commercial premises that have not installed and maintained appropriate pre-treatment facilities will be required to pay the following: Trade waste Usage Charge ($) = Volume of liquid trade waste discharged to sewer x $17.00 per kilolitre

What will I have to do to make sure my business complies?

Businesses need to ensure that the appropriate information is provided with their application form. Council’s trade waste officer is in the process of auditing local properties and discussing trade waste issues.

Why can’t liquid trade waste just go down the drain?

Lithgow’s sewerage system, like most town and city systems, was designed to handle domestic wastewater. The unpredictable nature of liquid trade waste has a significant impact on Lithgow’s sewerage system and its associated costs. It can also impact on Council’s Environment Protection Licence with the Department of Environment & Climate Change. The ‘source control’ approach adopted by Council ensures the quality of discharge remains within the capabilities of the sewerage system and sewerage treatment plant to transport and treat liquid trade. Lithgow City Council encourages people to think before they put things down the sink. In other words, the sewerage system should not be treated as a rubbish bin. Instead it should be considered as a part of a total system which goes beyond the drain.

I already pay my rates, why do I have to pay trade waste charges?

Council has adopted a two part tariff system which includes both access and usage charges. As trade waste is not domestic waste, it costs Council more to treat waste to an acceptable level prior to its discharge into the environment. In a user pays system, this cost needs to be recouped from the trade waste dischargers, not residents.

My rates say that I pay a sewer usage charge. Isn’t a trade waste charge a “double dip”?

A sewer usage charge is levied for utilizing the Council’s sewerage system for the disposal of domestic waste. Council’s trade waste charges are set taking into account the amount already paid.

I put in a grease trap 10 years ago. Why do I now have to upgrade it to 1000litres?

This is a minimum pre-treatment requirement of the NSW Office of Water. Council is unable to provide an exemption from this requirement.

Backflow requirements for Trade Waste Discharges and Plumbers

 Backflow prevention containment applies to all Lithgow Liquid Trade Waste discharges connected to Council’s potable water supply. The purpose of backflow prevention is to protect the water supply from contamination by liquid waste from commercial premises connected to the reticulated water supply. This can occur when contaminated liquid waste flows back through connections into the water supply system.

Commercial premises are responsible for ensuring the appropriate backflow prevention device is installed on their Grease Arrestor, Oil Water Separator or other approved pre-treatment device.

Council recommends all liquid trade waste discharges engage backflow accredited plumber. An accredited plumber will install and test the backflow device required relative to your hazard rating. Council has a list of backflow accredited plumbers in the Local Government Area 

Backflow accredited plumbers wishing to be listed on the Council website must register with Council by providing a copy of the relevant plumbers license number and backflow accreditation.

For further information about Lithgow Council backflow prevention requirements, please read the Backflow Prevention Fact Sheets for, Liquid Trade Waste Discharges and for Plumbers