The following information is provided solely as a guide to trade effluent matters and is not a fully comprehensive account of all requirements.
Trade effluent is defined as "any liquid, either with or without particles of matter in suspension in the liquid, which is wholly or partly produced in the course of any trade or industry carried on at a trade premises." Water Industry Act 1991. In summary this covers the majority of wastewaters produced by trade processes.
How to apply for a consent (non household premises)
If you think that your business requires a trade effluent consent you will need to contact your retailer and complete an application form called a Trade Effluent Notice (G/02 Form). Once we have received the completed application from your retailer we will process the consent. We will keep both you and retailer informed at key stages.
If your application is unsuccessful we will provide the reason as to why it has been refused. If we refuse to give consent, or the conditions of the consent are not as you require, or where Northumbrian Water has taken over two months to issue the consent, you have a right of appeal to Ofwat. However, we recommend that you discuss the matter with your retailer, who will contact us on your behalf, before contacting Ofwat.
Although we are primarily responsible for controlling trade effluent discharged to our sewers, there are occasions where the Environment Agency may apply additional conditions to your consent because of the substances in the discharge or the processes giving rise to the discharge. These conditions are focused on the control of persistent and / or toxic substances.
If you wish to alter the consent or no longer need it you must contact your retailer. You are responsible for ensuring that the consent is up to date and reflects the legal entity making the discharge, the process producing the trade effluent together with the flow and composition of the effluent.
The public register of consents is available from Leat House, Washington, NE38 8LB.
Trade effluent legislation
The primary piece of legislation relating to trade effluent is the Water Industry Act (WIA), which came in to force in 1991. Section 118 (5) of this act makes it an offence to discharge any trade effluent to sewer without the consent of the sewerage undertaker, in this case Northumbrian Water.
Applications for consent to discharge trade effluent
Upon receipt of an application we will consider the information provided and either refuse to grant consent or issue a consent document containing a number of conditions. When considering an application we will pay particular attention to ensure any discharge would not impact prejudicially upon:
the sewer system
the sewage treatment process
the health and safety of any operatives working in or around the sewerage network
the environment to which discharge is made.
Appeals can be made to the Director General of Water Services regarding any refusal by us to grant consent or regarding any consent condition we seek to impose.
Special category effluent
The Trade Effluents (Prescribed Process and Substances) Regulations 1989, amended 1990, specify a number of processes and substances as ′Special Category′. A list of these processes and substances can be found in the application form. If an application is made for consent to discharge special category effluent then we must refer the matter to the Environment Agency who will either refuse the discharge or will serve a Notice of Determination on us requiring that certain conditions are not exceeded when imposed within the consent to the Discharge of Trade Effluent.
The consent document
Any consent issued will contain, as a minimum, conditions referring to the following:
The maximum daily volume of effluent permitted to be discharged.
The maximum consented rate of discharge.
The prohibition of certain constituents from any discharge.
Quality parameters for example, but not exclusively, Total Chemical Oxygen Demand, Suspended Solids and Oil and Grease.
Further quality conditions are applied based upon the nature and composition of the effluent as stated in the application.
Monitoring of trade effluent
Any consent issued may contain conditions stating any requirements of a trader to monitor their discharge. Further to this we may also monitor any discharge of trade effluent to assess consent compliance and for charging purposes. A sample point is identified in the consent document from which we may sample the discharge at any time.
Information regarding our charging mechanism can be found within the large user tariffs section.
As previously mentioned it is illegal, under Section 118(5) of WIA 1991 to discharge trade effluent without the consent of the sewerage undertaker. It is also illegal, under Section 111 of the same act to discharge any matter likely to injure the sewer, interfere with the free flow of its contents or affect prejudicially the treatment and disposal of its contents. Furthermore it is an offence under Section 121 of the Act to contravene any conditions imposed in any Consent granted.
All three of these offences carry a maximum fine of £5,000 per offence on summary of conviction at Magistrates Court or an unlimited fine if referred to Crown Court. Alternatively in lesser cases we may opt to offer a Formal Caution. We may also seek to recover any costs incurred in dealing with such matters, under the polluter pays principle.