Trade Waste Pricing Review
Nov 08, 2022 Source: Unity Water
We’re changing the way we charge trade waste permit fees
Waste from businesses (known as trade waste) contains oils, greases and chemicals that can be harmful to our sewer network.
Trade waste requires a higher level of treatment to ensure the sewer network remains free from blockages and overflows. Effective treatment of trade waste helps keep our communities and environment healthy.
It’s a big, costly job to remove trade waste contaminants from our network. But it’s important.
Currently, the existing trade waste permit pricing structure is a one size fits all approach. It does not consider the business type or the impact of the waste on the sewer.
That’s why, from July 2023, we’re introducing a new tiered pricing structure for our trade waste customers that is more closely aligned with the impact their trade waste has on the sewerage system and the cost of treating it.
It’s a significant change for our customers, so we’re taking time to talk with businesses and business representatives about the best way to introduce this new pricing.
What’s the change?
Unitywater is moving to tier-based pricing for trade waste permits. In July 2023, it will replace the single, flat-rate Category 1 annual fee of $350 that is currently charged to businesses for this 2022-23 financial year.
Under this new pricing structure, businesses will fit into a treatment tier – ranging from Very Low to Very High for food and beverage related businesses, and Very Low to High for non-food related businesses.
What this means is the higher the impact of your trade waste, the more it costs to treat, and the higher your treatment tier. The treatment tier is assigned to your business based on your business type, waste generated, and the likely impact on the sewer network and environment.
To get an indication of your treatment tier, try our online calculator(External link).
We’ll let you know your business’s tier and pricing details in February 2023, as we’ve not assigned treatment tiers yet, or finalised the prices. In the meantime, we’re letting you know about this change so you can know what’s coming and understand why it’s so important.
This new pricing structure only applies to Category 1 Trade Waste Permits and does not apply to the following business:
- Businesses that are not required to have a Trade Waste Permit because they produce domestic-type waste that is similar in strength and volume to household waste – such as offices, home-based businesses and non-food retailers.
- Large industrial or manufacturing businesses that have a dedicated trade waste meter installed to measure the volume of their waste, and currently pay Category 2 trade waste strength and volume charges, which already reflect the real impact and cost of treating their waste.
Why is it so important?
Since Unitywater was established in 2010, we’ve safely managed trade waste in our sewerage network in line with national guidelines and legislation to reduce environmental impacts and ensure the health and safety of our customers and the community.
To date, we’ve charged businesses that require a trade waste permit a single, flat-rate annual Category 1 fee of $350 (2022-23 financial year), regardless of the type or volume of their trade waste – whether it be a small coffee shop or a large 24/7 fast food restaurant, a large car wash or a small laundromat.
The existing trade waste permit pricing structure is a one size fits all approach. Currently, the cost of treating trade waste does not consider the business type or the impact of the waste, and is covered by all our customers, including residential customers. This one-size-fits-all approach does not reflect the diverse range of businesses in our region and the different levels of impact their waste has on our sewerage network.
A low flat-rate permit fee does not adequately cover the cost of trade waste treatment processes that are required to keep our sewerage system operating efficiently. Currently this shortfall is funded by revenue from our other customers, including our residential water and sewerage bill payers.
By shifting the real costs of trade waste treatment to the business customers who are generating the waste, we have have a fairer, more equitable pricing structure.
This also mean that as our region grows and more businesses are connected to the sewer, we will have a robust and viable pricing system that allows us to cover the real costs of treatment, so we can continue to provide reliable sewerage services that are safe and sustainable for our fast-growing region, now and into the future.
We know this is a big change for many customers, but it is critical to safeguard our community and ensure our region is clean, safe, and ready for business.
What happens next and when will you get more info?
We know that businesses are under pressure constantly and there is never a good time for a pricing change. That’s why we’re committed to doing what we can to minimise the changes for businesses.
We’ve engaged customers, business and industry representatives, and other stakeholders to understand the best way to transition to the new pricing structures.
Some of things we have explored as part of our engagement includes:
- Testing the logic of the treatment tier approach to ensure it seems fair and reasonable
- Taking time understanding some of the challenges businesses are facing
- Exploring the best way to transition to change
- Getting feedback on the language used in the assessment criteria and the calculator
Early next year, we’ll send you information about your business’s specific treatment tier, new pricing details and how this will be phased once this consultation process is complete.