Trade Effluent Consent to Discharge Testing

Sampling and Testing of Trade Effluent

If a trade effluent consent to discharge is in place, then the consent conditions need to be complied with at all times. Non-compliance is an offence under Section 121 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

The Water Authority will expect you to take all necessary steps to remain compliant.

Regular sampling and testing of the final effluent can show a record of compliance of the effluent contents and also highlight non-compliance, enabling action to be taken before a major incident can occur.

Some companies also require sampling and testing of their trade effluent as a part of their ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, quality assurance processes or Environmental Policy auditing. We have provided this service on single and multiple sites throughout the UK.

We would welcome your enquiry, so please contact us to discuss your requirements for trade consents

What is trade effluent

Trade effluent is any liquid waste (effluent) that is discharged into a public foul sewer from an industrial or business process.

It can be easily defined as anything that is not domestic sewage.

Anyone wanting to discharge trade effluent or sewage to land or water must gain consent (permission) from the Environment Agency (EA) or the local water authority.

The requirement for consent to discharge was originally stated under the Water Resources Act 1991 and was amended by the Environment act in 1995

The application process for consent from the EA or water authority, will normally require the following information:

  • The type of effluent that is proposed to be discharged
  • The volume to be discharged
  • Where the effluent will be discharged
  • If and how the effluent will be treated before final discharge
  • The location of the designated sampling point

The process can take several months to complete.

An application will also normally be required if a variation to the existing consent is being sought, or for further discharge points.

Once consent has been given, the governing body may require ongoing sampling of the effluent to confirm that consent is not being breached.

Duty of care statement for commercial discharges to sewers

Legislation imposes a duty of care to all parties producing and handling waste. This ensures that the waste is managed correctly from production to final disposal.

If a trade consent is in place, the producer’s duty of care of the waste ceases at the point of discharge to the sewer if the terms of the discharge consent have been complied with.

It is therefore important to ensure that the conditions of the consent are being met. Sampling can confirm that the waste producer is operating within the terms of their consent.

The Tank Sampling Company can provide either one off or regularly scheduled sampling and testing of the trade effluent as required by the EA or water authority.

Enforcement of Trade Consents

Water authorities have a responsibility to protect the public, the environment, water authority staff and their assets (sewerage system and treatment plants)

The Water Industry Act 1991 contains offences and regulatory powers to help them take enforcement action, possibly leading to prosecution.

Some of the offences are as follows:

  • Section 111 – It is an offence to discharge any matter which is likely to damage the sewer, interfere with the flow of its contents or affect the treatment and disposal of its contents.
  • Section 118(5) – It is an offence to discharge trade effluent without a consent or other authorisation.
  • Section 121 – Allow the authorities to impose conditions on a consent and makes it an offence to fail to comply with those conditions

The offences above carry an unlimited fine if referred to the Crown Court.