Trade effluent - a quick overview, jargon buster and FAQs

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If your business is discharging non-household sewage (trade effluent) to the public sewer, you will need to obtain consent.

From large food and drink manufacturing sites to car washes and laundrettes, all these businesses need trade effluent consent and it is the responsibility of the business owner or occupier of the premises discharging the effluent to obtain consent.

A consent is required because trade effluent discharges from business and industrial premises can have harmful effects including damage to sewers, sewage treatment processes and watercourses.

Short term discharges of less than six months duration such as chemical cleaning of chilled and hot water heating systems need a temporary consent.

Once a consent or letter of authority has been issued by the sewerage Wholesaler, you will be charged accordingly by your retailer for the volume and strength of your effluent discharge.

IMPORTANT: discharging trade effluent to sewer without consent or exceeding consent limits is a criminal offence, which could result in prosecution under the Water Industry Act 1991.

If you are unsure as to whether you require a consent, please visit our consent page.

How we can assist you?

We offer wide range of specialist services that can assist you with consent applications, compliance and waste minimisation.

Applications for permanent and temporary consent including:

  • Assisting with variations to existing consent
  • Application support and expert guidance
  • Help reduce charges using waste minimisation and trade effluent treatment solutions
  • Renegotiation of consent limits

Monitoring and Compliance Support:

  • Independent trade effluent sampling surveys
  • Compliance health checks and action plans
  • Installation or hire of trade effluent sampling equipment
  • Installation of flow measurement equipment such as Waste Water Meters
  • Site drainage surveys and plans
  • Trade effluent training

Waste Minimisation:

  • Benchmarking / KPIs
  • Waste minimisation surveys
  • Treatment options review

If you would like support with any of the above, please contact us on 0345 600 2 600 or email

Jargon buster

COD, SS, Mogden Formula?

Better understand the terminology for trade effluent by downloading our Jargon Buster.