Trade effluent

If your business involves the manufacture or processing of materials such as chemicals, metal finishing, food and drink manufacture, or even if you operate a car wash or laundrette, and you discharge wastewater into our sewer, then it is likely that you will need a trade effluent consent from us.

Trade effluent is any liquid waste (effluent) that is discharged into our sewers from a business or an industrial process. This can be anything other from basic toilet flushing, washing and personal cooking (known as domestic sewage) to uncontaminated surface water and roof drainage.

In order for you to be allowed to discharge trade effluent into the public sewer, you need our permission to do so. We call this a ‘trade effluent consent’ and it is a legal requirement for trade effluent discharges to be agreed with us.

Trade effluent control applies to all businesses, from independent traders to large multi-national companies. Even small discharges of only a few litres a day may require consent. Please note that ground remediation projects are also subject to our agreement.

If you have a spillage or emergency on site

In the event of a spillage of trade waste at your premises, you’ll need to take action quickly in order to prevent or minimise any discharge to the sewerage network. You should have an Incident Management Procedure in place, and all your employees should be familiar with it; in addition, site drainage plans and Material Safety Data Sheets should be readily available for viewing by the appropriate people. If there has been a spillage, please take the following actions:

  1. As far as possible, please prevent the spilled material from entering any drains on site.
  2. If the spilled material has passed into the site drainage system, please Contact us immediately (within normal working hours); contact your Local Regulatory Controller if the spillage occurs out of office hours; or contact our customer services team on 0345 6723 723.

You may also need to contact the Environment Agency.

Safe and cost-effective disposal

If you run a business, chances are that you use water in much the same way that you use it at home - for washing, drinking, flushing the toilet etc – though you may also use water in your manufacturing or production processes. Inevitably, you’ll be producing wastewater, i.e. the water you flush away, pour away or discharge after you’ve used it. Your wastewater is then piped to one of our wastewater treatment works to be treated and cleaned before being safely returned to the environment.

Under the Water Industry Act 1991, any wastewater produced on trade premises (and in pursuit of a trade or business) is defined as ‘trade effluent’. This does not include domestic sewage – which is defined as wastewater produced as a result domestic usage, such as washing, food and drink, or using the toilet.

Trade effluent includes water used in production, washing or cooling facilities, and covers both large and small premises, including businesses, such as car washes and launderettes - athough hotels, caravan sites or restaurants are not.

In order to discharge trade effluent from a trade premises in the North West to the public sewer you will require permission from United Utilities.

Read more about our trade effluent services within Frequently Asked Questions.

Please also take a look at the following links for further advice: