Trade effluent FAQs

Why do I need a trade effluent consent?

What are the potential costs for discharging? 

What about mobile businesses?

What if I am not connected to sewer?

What do I do if I can’t discharge to sewer?

What about surface water drainage?

What will my trade effluent consent contain?

What happens if not all my wastewater goes back into the sewer?

I am considering carrying out some ground remediation work on my site. Do I need to inform United Utilities?

How do I calculate my charges?

What do I do if the nature of my business changes?

What do I do if my trade premises move?

What happens if I cease trading?

What happens if my discharge breaches any of my consent conditions?

 

Why do I need a trade effluent consent?
If you want to discharge trade effluent into the public sewer, you will need permission from us before you are allowed to do so. We need to protect the environment and maintain our assets, sewer networks and treatment works. In order to do this, we need to control what is being sent to the public sewer on a daily basis. This is set out in the Water Industry Act 1991.

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What are the potential costs for discharging?
Charges vary depending on the nature of your effluent. Samples are taken on a regular basis and the results received will help to show how treatable your effluent is. The strength of your sample is used as a factor in the Mogden formula, which is an industry-wide mechanism for calculating various elements in your effluent and how much it will cost to treat. Your local Trade Effluent Controller will also be able to help you understand your charges and offer advice on reducing your trade effluent costs.

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What about mobile businesses?
If your business does not have a permanent discharge point from where you discharge trade effluent to sewer, but your business involves going on to sites that use a permanent connection, then the waste you produce may need an agreement from us. We can help you with this. All discharges must be made to the foul sewer.

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What if I am not connected to sewer?
Trade Effluent should only be discharged into a foul or combined sewer, you will need to inform us if you want to make a connection to the public sewerage system. Our customers have the right to connect and we need to ensure that the connection is made in the right place, in the right way and by the right people. This can be really important to stop problems such as blockages and sewage flooding. We also need to make sure that you connect into the right type of sewer (for example, ensuring that foul waste does not enter into a surface water sewer as this can lead to pollution of a nearby river or stream). Find out more and submit a connection application form.

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What do I do if I can’t discharge to sewer?
Where we can, we try to accommodate your trade effluent discharges. However, there will be instances when this will not be possible (for example, you do not have access to the public sewer, or your trade generates waste that is deemed unsuitable because of the risk of harm to people, assets, and the environment). In these instances waste may be removed from site by tanker and treated at a waste management centre. In line with other waste management companies, we offer this service to businesses.

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What about surface water drainage?
Trade effluent control applies only to those discharges made to the foul sewer. No discharge of trade effluent should be made to the surface water sewer; this includes vehicle washes, wheelie bin cleaning and condensate from steam boiler systems. It is your responsibility to ensure drains on your site are identified correctly and any trade effluent discharge directed to the foul sewer. (If you are an occupier on site, your landlord should have copies of the site drainage.) Any surface water drains on your site that you suspect are receiving contaminated surface water (for example a waste transfer station) should be redirected to foul sewer and trade effluent consent applied for. Any other surface drains should be protected with bunds and / or other containment systems. The disposal of groundwater during land remediation projects should be passed to foul sewer and not to the surface water system. Such discharges require our agreement.

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What will my trade effluent consent contain?
Any form of authorisation issued by us is likely to contain the following limits:

  • A limit on the maximum daily volume, and on the maximum discharge rate.
  • A limit on the concentration of solid particulates and other organic matter.
  • Any substance likely to produce flammable, harmful or toxic vapours will not be permitted – such as petroleum spirits or derivatives of.
  • The pH will be restricted between set levels.
  • Effluents with a temperature higher than 43.3oC (109.9oF) will not be permitted

We will set any appropriate conditions to ensure that discharges do not cause problems in the sewer network or at sewage works, interfere with sewage treatment processes, affect any watercourse or pose a threat to the health and safety of our employees or the general public.

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What happens if not all my wastewater goes back into the sewer?
As a business customer, you pay for all the water that passes through your meter, so if any of your water is used in a product or does not return to sewer, (e.g. evaporation) you may be eligible for an allowance on your wastewater charges. This agreed allowance will form part of your trade effluent consent and on-going charges.

If you occupy a non-household premises, do not discharge a trade effluent and can demonstrate that more than 5 per cent of the water supplied to you through your meter is not returned to a sewer, please complete this form and return to it to us as the address shown.

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I am considering carrying out some ground remediation work on my site. Do I need to inform United Utilities?
The disposal of groundwater during land remediation projects should be passed to foul sewer and not to the surface water system. Such discharges require our permission. Please see our contact page for your local Trade Effluent controller details

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How do I calculate my charges?
As a trade effluent customer you may receive three separate bills. Water, Wastewater and Trade Effluent. Your Trade Effluent charges are based on sample strength and volumes. These factors are added into the Modgen formula and are charged at pence per cubic meter (p/m3)

Please see the following links for help with calculating your charges:

  • title="How do you calculate my water and wastewater bill?">Water and wastewater
  • Trade Effluent

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What do I do if the nature of my business changes?
Your trade effluent consent is issued specifically in the name of your business (at the address of your trade premises) and only permits you to discharge effluent specified in the consent. However, a consent can usually be changed as required. You must give us at least seven days written notice of any of the following:

  • any change to the process or the process materials or any other circumstances likely to alter the constituents of the trade effluent
  • any change to the name of your business / partnership
  • a change of ownership of the business premises

On receipt of this information we will issue a new consent subject to agreement on any new substances and limits identified. On issue of a new consent, or direction of an existing consent, a further direction cannot be served by us earlier than two years from the date of issue (unless authorised in writing by you).

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What do I do if my trade premises move?
You should contact your local RCTE in advance and provide written notice of your intention to change address. A new consent will need to be issued, as your current consent is only applicable for your current trading address.

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What happens if I cease trading?
If you cease trading at your current premises, or even if you just no longer discharge trade effluent to public sewer, you should inform your local RCTE in advance so that we can make any necessary amendments including ensuring that your bill is amended. You will be required to return your trade effluent consent to us.

If you sell the company to a new owner, are taken over by another company, merge the company with another company, or change the legal status of the company from that to which the original consent was granted, you will need to apply for a new consent. Failure to do so will mean that the discharge is illegal. (However, this would not apply where the company forwards a Certificate of Incorporation to us.)

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What happens if my discharge breaches any of my consent conditions?
Your local Trade Effluent Controller will provide you with analysis results for every sample taken from your premises so it will be easy for you to keep a record of your compliance. If the discharge exceeds any of your consent parameters, your local Trade Effluent Controller will be available to discuss the matter in more detail. You will also receive a letter highlighting the problem.

If the discharge regularly exceeds compliance against a particular parameter you will be required to produce an action plan detailing how you intend to return the effluent to compliance.

If compliance is not achieved we may be forced to take legal action. More detail can be found in our enforcement policy.

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