Industrial trade wastewater

Accepting trade wastewater to sewer is an operational, environmental and safety risk for us. If you discharge trade wastewater, you must have our written approval.

If you're discharging trade wastewater without our approval, we may disconnect the trade waste service. We may also disconnect or restrict your water service.

Trade wastewater includes:

  • wastewater produced at industrial or commercial premises
  • wastewater transported by vehicle, including septic effluent
  • wastewater from ships and boats
  • run-off from contaminated surface water and groundwater.

Our requirements and conditions for accepting trade wastewater help us:

  • protect people working in and around the wastewater system
  • protect receiving environments (rivers and oceans)
  • protect the wastewater system and treatment plants from damage
  • process wastewater, and produce recycled water and good quality biosolids
  • encourage waste minimisation, cleaner production and water efficient practices.

What you need to know

You discharge industrial trade wastewater if your trade wastewater is generated from:

  • food processing and manufacture
  • tanning and textiles
  • petroleum based activities
  • pharmaceutical and cosmetic activities
  • chemicals, plastics and surfactants
  • metals and surface coatings
  • paper, board, photographic and printing
  • cement, stone and abrasives
  • waste and wastewater treatment 
  • sewer mining and decentralised wastewater treatment.

You also discharge industrial trade wastewater if your process is not specifically listed as a commercial or deemed process. 

Read our  Commercial customers - trade wastewater fees and charges fact sheet.

If you have our approval to discharge industrial trade wastewater, you should have a hard copy of our consent to discharge industrial trade wastewater. 

This written approval outlines our conditions, including:

  • daily discharge limits for a number of substances
  • how we charge you for your trade wastewater discharge
  • our acceptance standards
  • a requirement for you to regularly sample and analyse your trade wastewater. 

If you can't find a copy or you're not sure if you have our written approval, email to check. 

If you don't have our approval and you're discharging trade wastewater, you must apply at Sydney Water Tap in™.

Applying for approval to discharge industrial trade wastewater is simple: 

  1. Complete an 'Application for connection to discharge trade wastewater' at Sydney Water Tap in™.
  2. We'll assess your application with 21 days in most cases.
  3. We'll contact you to discuss your application, collect additional information or arrange to meet you at your property.
  4. We'll issue a conditional consent outlining our terms and conditions.
Who can apply for approval?
The owner, manager or occupier who is conducting business on site is the applicant. You must not apply on behalf of someone else without their permission.

The property owner must sign the application form to confirm the business activities conducted on the premises.

We consider each application to discharge industrial trade wastewater carefully. We'll ask you to provide:

  • a site plan
  • a plan of proposed drainage (for new buildings)
  • a description of the business processes
  • details of pre-treatment equipment (existing and proposed)
  • pump specifications
  • information about any open areas 
  • information about chemicals used in your processes
  • details about how chemicals are stored on site.

You need our written approval to discharge industrial trade wastewater. If you're discharging without our approval, we may disconnect the trade wastewater service. We may also disconnect or restrict your water service. 

Discharging industrial trade wastewater

If you have our approval, you'll have a copy of a signed consent to discharge industrial trade wastewater. The written approval is a legally binding contract signed by both parties. Read the general conditions that apply to a Consent to discharge industrial trade wastewater.

Key points:

  • We set site-specific maximum daily mass limits for each substance. These are listed in your approval.
  • We set site-specific maximum discharge volumes. This is detailed in your approval.
  • We use a risk assessment process to determine the frequency of ongoing monitoring requirements. This includes inspection, sampling and analysis. These requirements are outlined in your approval.
  • Some customers may be required to install and maintain on-line monitoring systems. 

Monitoring requirements

You must collect and analyse samples of your trade wastewater as specified in your consent. 

Our List of analytical methods for trade waste fact sheet specifies the reference method to use when analysing trade wastewater samples.

We'll only accept analysis by laboratories registered with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) to perform the class of tests or specific tests.

Measuring trade wastewater discharge

You must install and maintain an approved flow measurement device to measure trade wastewater discharge. The system must continuously display instantaneous flow rate and cumulative kilolitres discharged. Flow meters must be calibrated in situ every year. 

Read our Flow measurement for trade waste dischargers fact sheet.

Suspending a consent 

We may suspend consent to discharge trade wastewater if the wastewater discharge poses a threat to:

  • our staff and contractors
  • our sewerage treatment systems and processes
  • the environment. 

If you don't comply, we may disconnect the trade wastewater service and restrict or disconnect the water service.


Fees and charges apply. 

Accepting trade wastewater to sewer means we accept additional operational, environmental and safety risks. To help manage these risks, we set concentration limits for some substances. These concentration limits are based on:

  • protecting the health and safety of workers in and around the sewerage system
  • protecting public health
  • meeting pollutant reduction targets and discharge licence conditions set by the Environment Protection Authority NSW
  • protecting our systems and treatment processes.

To find out more about our acceptance standards, read our Industrial customers - acceptance standards and charging rates fact sheet.

Trade waste fees and charges cover the additional costs of managing and treating trade wastewater. There are two types of charges:

  • management fees 
  • waste quality charges.

Visit our fees page to find out more about our charges.

Two men in front of large building

You need our written approval to discharge trade wastewater to our wastewater system.