What is trade waste water?

Trade waste water, also known as trade effluent, is any water produced by a business or process that is not domestic sewage or uncontaminated rainwater.

Businesses must obtain a consent license before discharging any liquid to a public sewer which is wholly or partly contaminated by processes carried out at a trade premises. Failure to obtain consent for trade waste water discharge is a criminal offence and businesses can receive large fines for non-compliance.

What types of businesses produce trade waste water?

Many different businesses and organisations will produce water that is ultimately discharged into a public sewer.  Premises such as car washes, launderettes, factories, chemical plants, food processors and construction sites, are just a few examples.

Any consent to discharge will always be related to the premises from which the discharge originates, rather than to any individual or corporate entity. At the same time, management of trade waste water applies to companies of all sizes and consents may be required for discharges of only a few litres per day as well as those from large commercial and industrial processes. Even short-term discharges of contaminated water require temporary trade effluent authorisation from the relevant water authority.

Is there any waste water that isn’t referred to as trade waste water?

In short, yes! Water discharged from hotels, pubs, restaurants, takeaways and caravan parks is not currently classed as trade waste water. However, such premises found to be discharging fats, oils, greases and food scraps into sewers, which then cause blockages, can potentially be prosecuted.

If you have any questions relating to trade waste water or would like to implement a trade waste water monitoring survey to better inform your consent license application, please feel free to contact us.


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