When it comes to businesses and water, most owners will just think about how much water the business uses and focus all their efforts and attention on water usage, especially if they want to save money. But as water comes into a business, it also needs to come out, which is where trade effluent comes in. If you are not sure what trade effluent is and if it applies to your business, read on as we explain everything you need to know about it.
What is trade effluent?
Let’s start by defining exactly what trade effluent is. The Water Industry Act of 1991 defines it as ‘any liquid, either with or without particles of matter in suspension in the liquid, which is wholly or partly produced in the course of any trade or industry carried on at trade premises’.
So, plainly speaking, trade effluent is all the liquid waste that a business will discharge into sewers due to the business’ activities (also commonly referred to as wastewater).
Trade effluent could, for example, include wastewater produced by washing, cooling or any other production process that results in wastewater that is deemed appropriate for disposal via the sewers.
Businesses with trade effluent will require a permit or consent as wastewater is a highly regulated area. Any business can be charged with fees relating to how much wastewater is produced and the contents of the discharged water.
What businesses are concerned
Trade effluent does not include wastewater that is considered to be ‘regular sewage’: water from kitchens, toilets and bathrooms, for example. This means that most hospitality businesses like cafés, restaurants and hotels may not be concerned with trade effluent requirements & charges.
Typically, businesses that are most concerned with trade effluent and require consents will include car washes, launderettes, breweries, food manufacturing plants and other businesses where water plays a key role in daily activities.
Note that potentially hazardous chemicals cannot be discharged via the sewer network, and businesses of this nature will require specialist waste contractors in order to deal with potentially dangerous chemicals and materials.
Consents for trade effluent
As we’ve briefly mentioned, businesses will require the right consents (or permits) to discharge trade effluent to sewers. It is illegal for businesses to do this without the necessary consent and considered a criminal offence – showing just important it is for businesses to get right!
Your business water supplier should be able to help you with all formalities and guide you on the types of consents needed. You can find more information on the process and applications here. Note that requirements may vary depending on where your business is operating, as Scotland and England tend to have different laws and rules, for example. Once you have applied for trade effluent consent, it is up to the water wholesaler to review this and provide a permit. In case of consent refusal, businesses can appeal to Ofwat.
Don’t hesitate to look for resources that are specific to your industry and to get support from your water retailer, as getting trade effluent consents wrong could prove extremely costly for your business.
We hope you’ve found this post useful, and you can read all our other business news and posts here.