What you need to know about trade waste agreements in Victoria

By Mark Maggiore

Sales Manager

26 August 2019

Victoria is home to about 6.4 million people, which equates to about 25% of the Australian population. It has a strong economic base, making it one of the most popular states in Australia to live and work.

Besides these practical advantages of living in Victoria, it is also a state of much natural beauty and outdoor attractions. There are pristine beaches like the 12 Apostles, mighty rivers like the Murray, National Parks and many other tourist and resident favourites. With all that natural beauty comes the responsibility to protect the environment and, in particular, the water systems of Victoria.

At Cleanawater, we can help you navigate trade waste agreements and compliance in Victoria. Find out more about we can help you with water authority compliance. 

Water Authorities in Victoria

Victoria is actually divided into 16 regions each with their own local water authority. Three of these cover the urban area of Melbourne and fall under the metropolitan agency known as Melbourne Water. The remaining authorities cover the regional areas of the state. A collective organisation called VicWater assists the individual water authorities in terms of performance and seeks to influence government and stakeholders on future water trends. They provide helpful training and resources including some industry guides and a best practice guide for trade waste management used by local water authorities.

Cleanawater has prepared a guide for trade waste agreements for the Yarra Valley and South East regions of Melbourne. 

What is a trade waste agreement? 

A trade waste agreement determines how your business must manage and dispose of wastewater. The Environmental Protection Agency and VicWater worked together to develop a best practice guide for the water authorities of Victoria. This guide serves as a guideline for the way trade waste is viewed and managed in the state although each water authority implements its own trade waste agreements. It is important to note that criteria for trade waste is dependent on a number of factors specific to each water authority. These include the volume of trade waste, the type and capacity of water treatment plants, the background concentrations of impurities etc. Customers can look for the trade waste policy from the water authority that their business falls under for more details.

Maroondah Reservoir for Melbourne Water

Best practice guideline for trade waste in Victoria

1. Reduce trade waste

The EPA follows the waste hierarchy which is to avoid, reuse, recycle and lastly dispose. Wherever possible, trade waste should be minimised at source. This could include internal recycling, reducing water use at the business or any other means to reduce the amount of trade waste generated.

2. Manage the risk

The EPA and water authorities use a risk-based approach to manage trade waste. Factors affecting the risks of a trade waste stream include the volume, the contaminants likely to be found and the pre-treatment solutions in place. A customer’s compliance history also affects their risk profile and may influence the conditions placed on the customer by a local water authority.

3. Establish compliance limits

Each local water authority has a set of standard specifications which trade waste producers must adhere to. Customer specific limits may be set in some cases based on the contaminants involved and the effluent treatment plants. Where there is a desire from a customer and a metropolitan water authority to relax a trade waste specification, Melbourne Water can approve or reject this proposal.

4. Trade waste agreements

No trade waste generator may discharge effluent water into the sewer network without an agreement issued by the local water authority. In this process risks are assessed, compliance limits set, and pre-treatment conditions laid out. Customers are required to submit site plans, process and instrumentation diagrams and material safety data sheets for all chemicals used on site.

5. Inspections and monitoring

Many local water authorities use a risk ranking system to guide their monitoring and inspection activity. Customers with a high risk are subjected to more frequent inspections and have more stringent self-monitoring requirements placed on them. An example of this is the risk rank matrix of South East Water.

6. Categorisation

Some water authorities in Victoria also use a categorisation system to group types of trade waste generators together. These categories are used for establishing a consistent pricing mechanism as well as setting pre-treatment requirements for an industry as a whole. For example, grease traps for restaurants. Where a pre-treatment solution is prescribed, a requirement for routine maintenance and servicing is also set.

7. Enforcement

Compliance to trade waste agreements is enforced via a five-stage process in Victoria:

  • Issuing of a non-compliance notice
  • Formal letter and meeting
  • Suspension of trade waste agreements
  • Forcible disconnection from the sewer or restriction in water supply
  • Prosecution

Cleanawater can help you with your trade waste compliance in Victoria

Cleanawater is an Australian company that specialises in wastewater treatment equipment and solutions. We have more than 20-years experience and can work with you to identify your risks and the best pre-treatment solutions for compliance. 

Contact Cleanawater to get expert advice on your wastewater management and trade waste agreement in Victoria. We will arrange a consultation and recommend a solution for your business. 

Mark Maggiore

Sales Manager

No trade waste generator may discharge effluent water into the sewer network without an agreement issued by the local water authority

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