From 1 July 2017, Logan City Council will be introducing changes to the issuing of trade waste approvals and the collection of trade waste charges. These changes have been driven by Council's ongoing commitment to providing efficient service delivery to our customers and to benefit community outcomes.
If you are a property owner, you should have received the following documents:
- An Information Pack (PDF 207 KB) which outlines the changes and associated implications;
- A new Trade Waste Approval for your property which replaces all existing approvals; and
- A 2017/18 Base Charge Summary applicable for all Trade Waste connections on your property.
For property owners, the main changes will be:
- Streamlined application and approval processes:
- One approval will be issued per property instead of one for each separate occupant.
- Amended approvals will be re-issued should changes occur on a property.
- No end date for an approval unless it is cancelled by Council or the property owner.
- Revised approval documentation to help property owners understand their obligations.
- Alignment of the collection of Trade Waste charges with other water and sewerage charges:
- Charges will be included on the property owner's rates notices each quarter.
- Individual invoices identifying specific tenants will no longer be provided by Council.
- Property owners will be required to recover charges directly from their tenants.
- Council will provide information to assist property owners with this process.
- Introduction of a revised charging regime for high strength trade waste generators;
- Adjusted limits for excess pollutants;
- Altered method of charging for excess pollutants; and
- Revised charge rates applicable for 2017/18.
For generators, the main changes will be:
- Charges will be included on the property owner's rates notices each quarter; and
- Individual invoices identifying specific tenants will no longer be provided by Council
For additional information, please read the Trade Waste Fact Sheet (PDF 61 KB).
Council has prepared the below list of Frequently Asked Questions to assist with your enquiries.
If you have any additional enquiries, please contact Council's Trade Waste team on (07) 3412 5666.
Why does Council charge for trade waste?
Council provides a sewerage system primarily for the transport and treatment of domestic sewage. Trade waste discharged by businesses into the sewerage system may contain significantly increased pollutants which may present a potential risk to personnel, the public, the environment, the infrastructure or treatment processes.
Council controls the discharge of trade waste to minimise these risks. Activities include:
- Undertaking detailed assessments of all trade waste connections on a property.
- Ensuring suitable pre-treatment devices are installed and regularly serviced.
- Conducting audits and site inspections to ensure compliance is maintained.
- Providing advice, education and awareness to trade waste generators.
Charges are applied to recover costs associated with providing these services. Furthermore, trade waste discharges generate an additional load on the sewerage system. Charges are applied to recover related transport and treatment costs.
Why have there been changes to the way trade waste is charged?
Council is including trade waste charges on the rates notices of property owners to align with the collection of other water and sewerage charges.
Will trade waste charges still be issued annually?
Council will be including trade waste charges on the quarterly rates notices issued to property owners. Under the new approach, the following is applicable for 2017/18:
- The 2017/18 annual base charge rate for each connection on a property will be divided across four equal instalments.
- The 2017/18 base charges for each property will be summarised each quarter based on the number of approved connections and included on the rates notice for that quarter.
- Should new connections or disconnections be approved throughout the year, then the base charges for those connections will be adjusted from the next quarter’s rates notice.
- The 2016/17 volumetric, excess pollutant and analysis charges will be summarised for each connection on the property and will be added to the Quarter 2 rates notice. This rates notice will be issued in October and due for payment in early November 2017.
Who will trade waste charges be issued to?
Council will issue trade waste charges to the property owner via quarterly rates notices. Property owners wishing to recover the trade waste charges from their tenants will need to directly establish associated invoicing arrangements. Council recommends property owners and tenants discuss the commercial billing arrangements that will apply from 1 July 2017.
Who is responsible for paying trade waste charges?
Under Council policy, trade waste charges have always been secured against the property on which the trade waste is generated. Accordingly, sole responsibility for the payment of charges has always resided with the property owner. This obligation will continue.
Where will trade waste charges appear on the rates notice?
Trade waste charges will appear on the ‘Water and Wastewater Information’ sheet attached to the rates notice. All water and sewerage charges, including the trade waste charges, will be totalled and included on the main rates notice.
How can trade waste charges be paid?
As the charges are included on the rates notice, all methods for the payment of rates will be available to property owners. This includes B-Pay which was not previously available for trade waste charges. All charges will be due by the nominated date on the rates notices. If the charges are not paid within the prescribed time after service of the rates notice, the outstanding amount shall be charged interest at a specified rate per annum.
How will property owners know how much to recover from tenants?
To assist property owners with the recovery of charges from tenants, Council will provide the following information.
1. Base Charges Summary
This will detail the base charges payable each quarter for each connection located on the property, together with the business name of the last known occupant.
This document will be provided in July each year following the adoption of the Council budget. It will also be provided throughout the year (prior to the quarterly rates notices) should any new connections or disconnections be approved on the property.
2. Volumetric, Excess Pollutant & Analysis Charges Summary
This will be issued in September and will detail the volumetric, excess pollutant and analysis charges applicable for each connection on a property for the previous financial year, together with the business name of the last known occupant.
How will tenants know what they are being charged for?
Council will be providing property owners with the details of the charges applicable for each connection on a property. Council recommends property owners and tenants discuss the commercial billing arrangements that will apply from 1 July 2017, including the provision of information in relation to the applicable charges.
Can tenants contact Council to discuss their charges?
Please note, Council will be able to provide tenants with details concerning the volume of trade waste discharged from their premises and the analysis results of any samples taken from pre-treatment devices. In addition, the charging framework and rates will be available on Council’s website.
Can property owners charge more?
The recovery of trade waste charges by property owners will be the subject of a commercial billing arrangement between property owners and their tenants.
Is GST payable on trade waste charges issued by Council to property owners?
Any general, separate or special rates and charges included in the rates notice are excluded from GST by the determination of the Commonwealth Treasurer per Division 81 and Division 38-I of the Goods and Services Tax Act (1999).
Will property owners charge tenants GST on trade waste charges?
GST is generally payable by tenants in relation to trade waste charges issued by property owners. GST can generally be recovered by tenants via Input Tax Credits claimed on their Business Activity Statements. Council strongly recommends that property owners and tenants seek their own financial advice in relation to all GST matters.
How much are the trade waste charges?
Council applies a user-pays charging system, which provides economic incentives to minimise waste generation. Trade waste charges consist of:
- A fixed annual service charge (i.e. a base charge);
- A variable volumetric charge;
- A variable charge for pollutants in excess of prescribed limits; and
- Analysis charges to determine discharge strength (where required).
The charges levied for each of these elements is determined by Council each financial year as part of the adopted annual budget. The charging framework and the applicable rates to be collected in 2017/18 are available here (PDF 71 KB).
How are trade waste charges calculated?
Trade waste charges are calculated for each approved trade waste connection located on a property. Based on the Sewer Admission Standards, Council has established the following categories to reflect the level of pollutants contained in the trade waste. These categories are the primary driver used to determine the applicable charges.
- Category 1 – Low Strength
- Category 2 – Medium Strength
- Category 3 – High Strength
What are base charges?
A base charge is applied for each approved trade waste connection located on a property to recover the costs associated with Council managing the trade waste service. This includes activities such as:
- Undertaking detailed assessments of all trade waste connections on a property with regards to the volume and strength of the trade waste to be discharged.
- Providing advice and education to generators on how to reduce trade waste volumes and improve discharge quality. This can save generators money.
- Ensuring suitable pre-treatment devices are installed and are regularly serviced in accordance with specified frequencies.
- Undertaking regular site inspections and auditing work practices to ensure generators comply with all approval requirements.
- Undertaking catchment monitoring studies to determine the effects of trade waste on the infrastructure across various areas of Logan.
- Reading meters and sampling pre-treatment devices to enable the preparation of bills to customers under a user-pays system.
Will base charges apply for vacant tenancies?
The base charges included in the Quarter 1 rates notice for 2017/18 reflect the premises that were occupied as at 30 June 2017. If there were vacant premises at this time, then charges would not have been included in Quarter 1 rates notice, unless Council was not aware the premises had been vacated. The property owner is responsible for advising Council of any vacant tenancies.
Moving forward, as vacant premises become occupied, they will be added to the approval and base charges will be included in the following rates notice. Similarly, any new premises added to the property will also be included in the approval and the following rates notice. This could occur via a building expansion or the conversion of an existing tenancy to become a trade waste generating connection.
In the future, once premises have been included in the approval and base charges have been applied, they will continue to attract base charges irrespective of whether they are occupied or vacant. The only way the base charge will be removed is if there is a physical disconnection implemented, thereby preventing the discharge of trade waste.
What are volumetric charges?
Volumetric charges are applied to recover the costs associated with transporting the trade waste via the sewerage network and then treating it at our Wastewater Treatment Plants to ensure the final effluent discharged meets environmental requirements. Volumetric charges are only applicable for medium and high strength generators (i.e. Category 2 and 3).
Given trade waste contains significantly increased pollutants; it can shorten the useful life of our assets and also cause additional maintenance to be undertaken. In addition, it requires further treatment processes to ensure it complies with environmental regulations.
How are volumetric charges calculated?
Volumetric charges are calculated based on the amount of trade waste discharged multiplied by the applicable charge rate for the applicable category. Measurement is undertaken via approved flow measure devices, such as meters installed on the premises. Council’s Trade Waste team routinely read the meters throughout the year.
What are excess pollutant charges?
Excess pollutant charges only apply for high strength generators (i.e. Category 3). Charges are based on pollutant strength which is determined via sample analysis. The total amount charged is calculated on the kilograms of pollutants produced (i.e. volume x strength).
What are analysis charges?
In order to determine the level of excess pollutants for high strength generators, Council may require samples of the trade waste discharge to be collected and analysed. This service may be provided by an independent laboratory or by Council’s laboratory. The number of samples required to be collected and analysed is based on the risk to the sewerage system, the volumes discharged and the consistency of previous sample results.
Will volumetric, excess pollutant and analysis charges apply for vacant tenancies?
Volumetric, excess pollutant and analysis charges will be calculated at the end of the year for each tenancy, irrespective of whether the tenancy is occupied or vacant at that time. The total amount will be included in the charges for the following financial year. Council will no longer be issuing invoices during the year.
Should a tenancy become vacant during the year or change hands, the property owner may request Council to provide an estimate of the applicable charges incurred by the outgoing tenant. Council will read the meters and use available information with regards to pollutants and analysis charges to calculate the estimate.
The property owner may wish to recover these estimated charges from the outgoing tenant in accordance with commercial billing arrangements. However, it should be noted that the estimate provided by Council may vary from the final calculation for the entire year.
When is a tenancy determined to be disconnected?
A tenancy is considered disconnected when measures are taken that physically prevent the discharge of trade waste. This may include the removal of a plumbing fit-out within the tenancy or where a connected pre-treatment device is made inoperable. The measures taken to prevent the discharge of trade waste must be inspected and approved by Council. Property owners should discuss the planned actions with the Trade Waste team prior to implementation in order to confirm the measures will meet Council’s requirements.
Please note, trade waste base charges will continue to apply until the disconnection has been approved by Council. The property owner is responsible for notifying Council that the required works have been implemented. Any outstanding volumetric, excess pollutant and analysis charges will be calculated and charged in the following quarter’s rates notice.
Why did Council issue a new approval?
Council has implemented a number of changes to the approval processes in order to provide efficient service delivery to our customers.
Previously, each trade waste connection on a property was issued with an approval. Every time a tenant ceased trading or changed hands, the approval expired. When a new tenant proposed to commence trading from the same location, an application was required to be completed by the property owner and the new tenant.
Under the revised approach, a single approval will be issued for the property. Provided the plumbing fit-out for the connected premises does not change, then the approval will remain valid irrespective of whether the connected premises are occupied or vacant.
This means that trade waste applications are no longer required to be completed by property owners every time a business operating on their site changes hands. This will reduce the paperwork and administration for property owners, tenants and Council.
Why has the approval documentation changed?
The new approval comprises the following documents:
- Approval Details
- Approval Conditions
- Schedule 1 – Approved Connections
- Schedule 2 – Approved Pre-Treatment Devices
- Schedule 3 – Special Conditions
The documentation was revised to help property owners better understand their obligations, as well as to facilitate the issue of amended approvals when changes occur on a property.
What are approved connections?
To ensure compliance with Council’s Sewer Admission Standards, each connected premises (tenancy) on a property generating trade waste is assessed with regards to the volume and strength of the trade waste to be discharged. All approved connections are included in Schedule 1 of the approval issued to the property owner.
What are some connections assigned to multiple categories?
For certain trade waste activities (e.g. food industry) multiple categories may be applicable. This will depend on the operational practices of the generator and may fluctuate from year to year based on the level of pollutants discharged.
Accordingly, these connections may be assigned to medium or high strength categories. From a charging perspective, both of these categories attract the same base charge. The annual volumetric charges (including excess pollutants) are calculated at the end of each year based on the results of sample analysis. At this point, the generator will be assigned to either medium or high strength.
What are approved pre-treatment devices?
Pre-treatment devices facilitate the removal of pollutants harmful to people, the environment and the sewerage system. Council assesses the information provided for each pre-treatment device with regards to the associated connections. All approved pre-treatment devices are included in Schedule 2 of the approval issued to the property owner.
How often do pre-treatment devices need to be serviced?
Pre-treatment devices are required to be regularly serviced to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. Service frequencies vary according to:
- Type and size of the device;
- Volume and strength or trade waste discharged to the device; and
- Work practices employed by the generators connected to the device.
Council will determine the service frequencies for each device and detail these requirements in Schedule 2. Based on the outcomes of inspections, audits and waste monitoring activities, Council may determine to amend the service frequencies. Where a change occurs, Council will re-issue an amended Schedule 2 to the property owner.
What happens to the approval when changes occur on a property?
Council will issue amended Schedules 1 and/or 2 in the following circumstances:
- Following the completion of approved plumbing and drainage works on the property in relation to building extensions and/or fit-outs. This may include new trade waste connections or the installation of additional / replacement pre-treatment devices.
- Where an existing fit-out or pre-treatment device is disconnected thereby preventing the discharge of trade waste, which has been inspected and approved by Council.
In general, amended schedules will be issued automatically by Council based on:
- Plumbing applications received by Council (extensions / shop fit-out).
- Information obtained from site inspections.
- Information available via food licences.
What happens when I get a new tenant?
If a new tenant proposes to move into a vacant tenancy where an existing connection is listed in the Schedule 1, then no actions are required to be undertaken.
If a new tenant proposes to move into a vacant tenancy not listed in Schedule 1, then the property owner must notify the Trade Waste team to enable assessment. Where the existing plumbing and pre-treatment devices are determined to be suitable, then the connection will be added to the schedules and these will be re-issued to the property owner.
If a new tenant proposes to move into a vacant tenancy and the plumbing and drainage is required to be installed / altered, then the property owner will be responsible for obtaining Council plumbing and drainage approvals. At the same time, all trade waste requirements, such as pre-treatment devices and meters will be assessed and included on the approved hydraulic plans issued by Council.
What happens to the approval if there is a change of property ownership?
The new approval cannot be transferred or assigned by the property owner. In the event of a change of property ownership, an amended approval will be issued by Council to the new property owner. This will be undertaken based on changes to Council’s property records.
Does the approval have an end date?
The new approval does not have an end date and will remain in effect until it is suspended or cancelled by either Council or the property owner. The associated requirements for this to occur are detailed in the approval conditions.
When is a new approval required?
A new approval is required when a new building, or an alteration to an existing building, is proposed which will result in the generation of trade waste from the property. Where this occurs, the property owner will be responsible for obtaining Council plumbing and drainage approvals. All trade waste requirements, such as pre-treatment devices and meters will be included on the approved hydraulic plans issued by Council. Upon final plumbing inspections being conducted and approved by Council, a Trade Waste Approval will be issued to the property owner.
Where can I get a Trade Waste Application Form?
Council has recently changed the requirements for submitting Trade Waste Application Forms and the issue of Trade Waste Approvals. Please contact the Trade Waste team on (07) 3412 5666 to discuss any matters relating to the discharge of trade waste.