Industrial water auditing and trade effluent monitoring help processing and manufacturing businesses stay compliant and save money

Trade effluent monitoring

The Environment Agency (EA) and the water companies are responsible for the quality and quantity of wastewater entering the watercourses. They control the amount and type of effluent going into wastewater treatment works (WwTW). Treatment plants are complex operations and as a result, have a limited capacity.

Industry produces vast volumes of effluent  that ranges in size from a few litres to hundreds and thousands of litres a day. Some trade effluent may be toxic and if released into the watercourse could certainly have devastating polluting effects. Therefore, many companies must monitor and control discharge levels, before releasing it into rivers and streams, or into the wastewater sewer network.

You must obtain a consent licence from the water authority in order to discharge trade effluent. The consent specifies limits for discharge. It is made up of the volume and chemical content, or quality of the water.

Depending on the nature of the effluent, charges are likely to include:

  • Volume and flow rate of wastewater
  • COD/BOD
  • Settled solids
  • Suspended solids

Every consent will be different and may also include additional parameters relevant to the process. Companies  face substantial fines, and criminal prosecution for breaching the limits of the consent. The maximum fine is currently £40,000, hence the need to take monitoring trade effluent seriously.

Most noteworthy is that you are responsible by law, to keep the water company informed of changes.  In the event that something changes in your process, in the same way, it also changes the effluent being discharged. If you are planning changes or are expanding, you should evaluate any impact on your discharges. If it is significant enough to take you outside the confines of your existing licence, you must apply for a modification to your consent.

How does the EA or the water company check the effluent?

If you don’t have monitoring equipment in place, trade effluent officers working for the water company will take spot samples of the water to calculate your bills. COD and BOD attract higher charges as it strips the oxygen out of the water.

If you’re unsure what is being discharged and don’t want an unexpected bill, or you’ve received a bill that is higher than you expected, a short term flow and load survey can help. The problem with spot samples is that the effluent taken may not be representative of the site. A flow and load survey can provide more accurate information taken over a period of time and can be used to query or challenge a bill.

Equipment for monitoring trade effluent

Detectronic has a range of trade effluent monitoring systems to help keep you compliant and can save you money. For instance, by monitoring the amount of water used in your process and subtracting the amount from your incoming water, gives you the information to improve processes and reduce waste.

We’ve already mentioned that COD and BOD attracts higher charges. If you know your levels, introducing a simple aeration process to put the oxygen back into the water will reduce your bills.

Are you interested in obtaining ISO 14001 or ISO 50001? Did you know that monitoring trade effluent is a requisite for accreditation?



Flow monitoring

Typically to monitor the volume of wastewater would require the installation of a primary device such as a weir or a flume and a flow meter.

Sites may vary considerably and different flow meters are better suited to certain environments. Detectronic can help you in selecting the most suitable flow monitor to give you the most accurate results.

Did you know that if you are discharging over 50³m, you need to monitor flow rates with an MCERTS flow meter?

Monitoring water quality

The ORAKEL system is a versatile product range which lets you monitor water flow, water levels and water quality simultaneously.

Uniquely designed to be modular, up to 16 sensors can be added to one control unit, all measuring different parameters. pH and temperature are two parameters regularly included on a consent. All our pH sensors have integrated temperature sensors. Other parameters that may be included in your consent licence include:



related articles

Why measure process flows

Why do I need an MCERTS monitor?

Are you compliant?

Don’t let raw ingredients go to waste

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