GreenSpark's Logo



What Is A Trade Effluent Consent And Why Do I Need One?

This blog discusses what a trade effluent consent is and when you might need one.

Trade effluent is liquid waste produced as part of a business, trade or industrial process. This excludes surface water and domestic sewage, for example produced from toilets and washrooms. If trade effluent is discharged to the foul sewer, you must have consent from the water company.

Where does trade effluent come from?

Trade effluent is any liquid waste created as part of normal site operations. Depending on your business activities, there are a number of processes that can produce trade effluent. For example, washing down vehicles (in a vehicle wash or jet washing), tray washing, floor scrubbing and jet washing yard areas. Liquid discharges of this kind should always be discharged to the foul sewer or collected and disposed of as waste, they should never be discharged to the surface water system.

What is a trade effluent consent?

Water companies have an obligation to provide an effect trade effluent collection and treatment service making sure that public health and the environment is fully protected. Part of this is understanding how much trade effluent will be entering the sewers and what its composition is. This enables treatment works to be properly equipped to treat wastewater and comply with their Environmental Permits from the Environment Agency.

Water companies keep track and regulate the sewage they receive by granting trade effluent consents. These documents are legally binding and allow businesses to discharge trade effluent to the foul sewer. The consent will contain site-specific conditions that you must follow to control your discharge. Consent conditions will vary but are likely to include limits on volume and flow rate, pH, temperature, chemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, fat, oil and grease and any banned substances.

What do I need to do if I have a trade effluent consent?

Once you have been granted a trade effluent consent, it is essential that you read through and understand all the requirements of the consent. It is an offence to not comply with the conditions of your trade effluent consent and you must ensure that your discharge meets the quantity and quality restrictions of the consent. You may be required to continuously or periodically monitor the discharge to ensure you remain compliant.

The water company may take samples to determine if your discharge meets the consent requirements. You will be informed if your discharge fails any of the limits and you will be expected to take the necessary actions to ensure the discharge meets the requirements in the future.

If you are discharging any liquid waste (excluding domestic water) to the foul sewer, you will need to apply for a trade effluent consent from the water company. This will allow you to discharge water under specified conditions, which you must follow. You will be expected to take appropriate measures to avoid non-compliance and failure to comply with your consent can result in unlimited fines in the Magistrates or Crown Courts.

For more information on trade effluent consent, call our experienced environmental consultants today on 0330 440 4800.