Trade waste permits for small business

Are you a small business owner? Do you have some questions about trade waste permits? You'll find the information you need right here.

Any wastewater discharge from business or industry, other than that which comes from staff amenities or office facilities, is generally classified as trade waste.

When do I need a trade waste permit?

Not all trade waste is compatible with our system. So any industry or business in WA that wishes to discharge trade waste to Water Corporation sewers is required by law to apply to us for approval. Approval is given in the form of a trade waste permit.

Why are there conditions associated with my permit?

Your application to discharge trade waste is assessed for compatibility with our wastewater system before approval is given. This is to ensure that any risks to the public or the environment are properly managed.

By following the conditions set out with your permit, you can be assured that your waste will be handled in a way that’s safe for the environment, and safe for your local community.

How much does a permit cost?

An annual permit charge is levied to cover our costs of administering the permit system. These costs are common to all customers.

Annual permit charge: $237.10

An establishment charge is charged for new permits. This covers our costs of processing your application and undertaking our assessment.

Establishment charge: $133.65/hour. The time taken depends on the complexity of your situation.

In certain circumstances additional charges might apply. If your business is required to install a grease arrestor to pre-treat greasy wastewater, a fats, oil and grease (FOG) management charge will be applicable. This charge is levied to cover the costs of operating our Fats, Oil and Grease Management (FOGMan) system for management of greasy waste.

Annual FOGMan charge: $104.16 per individual grease arrestor

Most small businesses will only pay the establishment charge, annual permit charge and where relevant, FOGMan charge, unless their business process or situation changes.

The charges stated above are valid for the 2019–20 financial year.

Are there any other associated costs?

Our charges do not cover the services which may be provided by others, such as supplying or maintaining your plumbing or waste treatment fixtures, disposal of any by-products captured by your waste treatment fixture, or the handling of waste streams that are not discharged to sewer.

Consult your equipment supplier and/or the Department of Environmental Regulation for further information.

What should I do with my permit?

You should make sure that all of your relevant employees are made familiar with the permit, the associated conditions, and any operational arrangements and restrictions that have been put in place. It should then be kept in a safe place at the discharge property.

Your permit gives you permission to discharge wastewater to sewer. It should be available for viewing (if requested) by an officer of the Water Corporation, Department of Environmental Regulation, or local government.

How do changes in my business affect my permit?

Your permit is specific to the particular business owner, business name, location, and operations or processes identified on your permit. You must notify us at least 14 days in advance of any change in:

  • any operation or process that in turn causes a change in the nature or volume of wastewater discharging to sewer
  • ownership of the business
  • the business name
  • location of the business to another site.

In the event that such a change occurs, you will be required to complete a new application, or an application to transfer your permit, depending on the situation.

What other obligations do I have?

You must ensure that any pre-treatment fixture you have is kept in good condition, is well maintained, and is cleaned or emptied as required for its proper operation. Poorly maintained fixtures become ineffective, resulting in non-compliant sewer discharges which can pose a threat to our staff, our wastewater system, the public, or the environment.

What can happen if I breach my permit conditions?

You must comply with all the conditions associated with your permit. They are based on an individual assessment of your business, and are specific to the particular characteristics of your wastewater. Breaching your conditions could result in:

  • a threat to the health and safety of workers within the wastewater system
  • damage to the physical infrastructure or operation of our wastewater system, or poisoning the biological processes at our treatment plants
  • a threat to public health directly from your discharge, or from any sewer failures which might be caused by your discharge
  • an inability to reclaim and re-use our treated wastewater or our biosolids treatment by-products
  • a threat to the environment from any failure of the sewer system which your discharge might cause, or by contaminants which cannot be removed by our treatment processes.


Penalties for breaches of your permit conditions do exist, and we can disconnect your service if breaches are not rectified. We are bound by our own legal responsibilities to protect against unauthorised sewer discharges.

These provisions are only used as a last resort. We prefer to work with you to meet our shared responsibilities to the community and environment, for the safe and effective handling and disposal of your trade waste.