Liquid Trade Waste

At present in the ACT, the additional costs of treating liquid trade waste is shared across all Icon Water sewerage customers. Most other utilities in Australia operate a user pays system where businesses that place greater burdens on the sewage treatment process pay extra to cover the additional treatment costs. 

We are looking at introducing a user pays liquid trade waste system. This will also aim to incentivise appropriate pre treatment of liquid trade waste. However, before we develop the system and determine what pricing models and implementation plans could be used for different types of liquid trade waste customers, we want to hear from those that may be impacted.    

We value your feedback and your contribute will help shape the liquid trade waste user pays system.

We are currently planning our next phase of consultation.

To register your interest in being involved, please email us.


  • Why suddenly the need to introduce a liquid trade waste user pays regime?

    Discharge of liquid trade waste to the sewerage system can impose costs in several ways. High volumes can cause sewer overflows, solid substances can cause blockages, corrosive substances can reduce sewerage asset lives, and chemicals can produce gases that result in dangerous working conditions and disruptions to treatment plant processes. The intent of the policy and charging regime being developed by Icon Water would be to signal these costs and provide an incentive for customers to undertake pre-treatment where it would reduce overall costs. To date the cost of collecting and treating liquid trade waste has been borne by the broader community, rather than being directly recovered from users. 
  • What would a liquid trade waste user pays system involve?

    In layman’s terms, a liquid trade waste user pays system will increase billing to the commercial discharger whom loads sewage systems significantly more than the household discharger. The intent is to incentivise appropriate pre treatment where it would reduce overall collection and treatment costs. The charges would not generate additional revenue for Icon Water; rather, all tariffs would need to be reweighted to accommodate the liquid trade waste charges within the fixed revenue requirement determined by the ICRC.
  • What pricing model is Icon Water going to use?

    Pricing models are currently being explored. Icon Water will be engaging with liquid trade waste users and our broader customer base to ensure that our customers are represented in the determination of liquid trade waste pricing.
  • How much will be charged?

    A pricing model is currently being developed. Icon Water will be consulting with the community in order to consider appropriate pricing models.
  • Is this a way of making extra money for Icon Water?

    No, the objective is to simply recover the costs of collecting and treating trade waste specifically from those who produce it. Currently the cost of collecting and treating liquid trade waste is shared across the community (including non users) We are committed to consulting with customers who these charges will apply to as well as with the broader Canberra community.  We have reviewed what other Utilities around Australia are doing in terms of price structure and application.  It is our intension to establish a scheme that is appropriate for Canberra, well informed and reflective of feedback we receive through customer consultation. 
  • Is there a timeframe for introduction?

    At this stage there is not a clear timeframe for introduction. With that said, it is possible that a transitionary period may apply for the introduction of new charges and how they are applied. We will provide a detailed proposal in our main submission to the ICRC’s 2018 price review, which is likely to be due in mid-2017