• Trade effluent FAQs

    Trade effluent is wastewater that businesses discharge to the public sewer. It usually requires consent as it can impact the environment, the sewage treatment processes and infrastructure.

    Trade effluent does not include domestic discharges, such as toilet flushing or hand washing.

    It does include wastewater from any trade activity such as commercial laundries, food preparation, manufacturing, metal plating, etc.

    Some businesses don't require trade effluent consent including: 

    • schools
    • cinemas
    • restaurants
    • hotels
    • nursing homes.

    It is illegal to discharge trade effluent to sewer without consent.

    To find out if your business needs trade effluent consent please contact us.
    You will need to contact us to start a consent application (form G/02).

    We are required by law to determine the consent within two months.

    Sometimes it can take longer - especially if new infrastructure or treatment processes are needed.

    If you're thinking of a new or substantial change in the strength or volume of your discharge, contact us as soon as possible.

    There is a consent application charge. When your consent is issued, you'll need to pay treatment charges based on the volume and strength of your discharge.
    The consent may include:

    • limits on the daily volume and flow rate
    • limits on the concentration of solids, organic matter or harmful constituents
    • limits on physical parameters such as temperature or particle size requirements for things like flow measurement, sampling access and monitoring equipment.

    It will also specify the sampling point, discharge to sewer location and anything else that's relevant to the discharge.

    Please contact us to see if you need to apply for consent. 


    Refusals are rare. However, we may have to refuse a consent if:

    • there is no spare capacity in the receiving sewers and treatment works
    • the effluent or premises pose unacceptable risk to our staff or infrastructure.

    If effluent does pose a risk or problem we meet with you to discuss ways forward. We may require you to install some sort of pre-treatment or environmental risk control measures before the effluent can be accepted by the sewers.
    Contact us as soon as possible if there's a significant change (eg, more than 10%) in the strength, composition or volume of your discharge. A change could impact the environment, our sewage treatment process or infrastructure.
    If you can't meet your consent conditions we'll discuss this with you as soon as we're notified or pick up a poor water quality sample. 

    Persistent non-compliance can lead to cost recovery, stronger enforcement action and eventual prosecution for a breach of the Water Industry Act 1991.
    When moving premises your old consent becomes void and we'll issue you with a new one, but you must re-apply using form G/02.
    If you've had a chemical spill contact us immediately as soon as you're aware of it. Try to contain it as best as you can and prevent further discharge. If chemicals spill to surface water you will need to contact the Environment Agency
    If your trade effluent consent process breaks down contact us immediately and your water and sewerage wholesaler as soon as possible. Untreated trade effluent discharge can impact the environment, our sewage treatment process and infrastructure. Unusual strengths may also affect your charges for up to six months. If you inform us about it, we may be able to take steps to reduce any risks.
    Contact us if you'd like to try to reduce your charges. We can arrange to carry out a water check to see if your usage can be reduced. We can also help you identify sources of strong wastewater and calculate the effect of any process changes you could make.
    If you run a car wash you need to apply for trade effluent consent as sewers and surface water need protecting from the oil and grit your car wash generates. Contact us to find out more.
    If you run a mobile business that provides services including bin washing, vehicle valeting, central heating drainage, steam cleaning, etc, you need to apply for trade effluent consent. Wastewater should never be disposed to a highway drain or surface water gulley. 

    Any continuous operation will require trade effluent consent - please contact us to find out more. Temporary or one-off discharges (less than six months) will also require authorisation by us.
    If you are building a new development, you should apply for consent in advance of the discharge commencing. This will ensure that there is available capacity to accept the new discharge and that any requirements for pre-treatment (such as monitoring equipment, screens or settlement tanks) can be built into the development rather than fitted later.
    At water2business we deal with all enquiries relating to:

    • your trade effluent bill
    • faulty trade effluent meters
    • advising trade effluent flow information
    • general trade effluent treatment advice.

    If you are not a water2business customer yet, please contact us to find out how to switch your business to us.
    If you are installing a trade effluent discharge meter you will need to complete an Open Water form (B12) -   contact us for more information.
    If your business stops discharging trade effluent discharge please contact us . We will arrange to revoke your trade effluent consent.
  • Find out if your business needs trade effluent consent

    If your business is discharging non-household sewage (trade effluent) to the public sewer, you will need to obtain consent.

    Trade effluent consent

    We routinely inspect and sample trade effluent discharges to check compliance with consent conditions

    Trade effluent sampling
  • Need to apply for trade consent or have any questions?

    Contact us