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Water consultants H20 Building Services discovers swimming pool and leisure companies overcharged £millions on their waste water charges in some areas of the country.

During 2000 H20 Building Services was commissioned by a national swimming pool and leisure business to reduce their water and waste water charges.

During the initial water and waste water audit it was considered that their waste water charges were being overcharged due to the supplier Thames Water not charging in accordance with the correct charge structure.

 

At the time the client was being charged for waste water discharged from the swimming pools and spas based on standard domestic rate. No consideration was given to the fact that the water discharged from the pool back wash was in fact trade effluent in accordance with the Water Industry Act 1991, swimming pool back wash was in fact classed as trade effluent.

 

H20 Building Services waste water auditors calculated that the standard waste water charges billed by Thames Water were double that of trade effluent charges for the discharge of waste from pool back wash filters.

The estimated savings calculated by H20 Building Services were £200,000 a year if they were charged for waste water based on a trade effluent tariff as opposed to standard waste water tariff.

 

In the light of the substantial saving and the fact that the customers express wish was to ensure they complied with the waste water discharge directive H20 Building Services made an application for all the sites within the Thames water region for a trade effluent consent to discharge trade waste.

 

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

 

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 public foul sewer, then it is likely that the discharge is considered trade effluent.

 

In order to discharge trade effluent from a trade premises the public sewer you will require permission from the relevant water and waste water supplier . We call this a ‘trade effluent consent’ and it is a legal requirement for trade effluent discharges to be agreed with the waste water undertaker.

 

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.

 

Thames Water rejected the applications for the pool and leisure company stating the waste discharged from the swimming pool was not in their option trade effluent.

 

H20 Building Services Senior Partner Graham Mann put together an appeal to the regulator OFWAT . A few months later the regulator fully supported the appeal and Thames Water conceded and all of the sites in question were granted a trade effluent consent.

 

This was a land mark case during 2000 and since this case pool and leisure companies within the Thames Water region have benefited by saving £million every year on their water waste costs.

 

Graham Mann says “It was a land mark case and although I truly believed Thames Water were in the wrong I was not 100% sure the water regulator would rule in my favour. It was a nerve racking time from me personally as I promised the client the savings would be delivered so the reputation of H20 was on the line, needless to say £200,000 worth of savings were delivered”

 

So which water and waste water companies are overcharging swimming pool and leisure companies on the pool discharge waste? 

 

United Utilities 

They charge for waste water discharged from swimming pools back wash based on standard domestic rate so this company is not charging for the discharge of waste water based on a trade effluent discharge as the company does not consider discharge from swimming pools as trade effluent.

This is strange as according to United Utilities website: –

 

What is the definition of trade effluent

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

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 public foul sewer, then it is likely that the discharge is considered trade effluent. 

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. 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. 

If you operate a trade effluent process and require consent to discharge into the public foul sewer. Please contact your retailer who will provide you with the relevant application form to complete and submit on your behalf.

 

Scottish Water 

This water company charge a standard domestic rate and do not consider swimming pool discharge as trade effluent.

 

Wessex Water

Again this company do not recognise waste water discharged from swimming pool back wash filters as trade effluent but to reflect much weaker discharge have an allowance schedule designed to compensate the customer.

They say “Effluent emanating from a swimming pool is weaker in strength than average domestic sewerage”

 

So is swimming pool waste discharge trade effluent?  – According to the Water Industry Act 1991 it is and according to the water regulator OFWAT it is.

 

So essentially out of all water and waste water companies in the UK 3 do not charge in accordance with the Water Industry Act 1991 which is applicable in their region.

 

So why is this? 

One word – Revenue!  Surprised – of course not!

 

H20 Building Services will now be writing to the regulator appealing against those companies who refuse to charge swimming pool operators in accordance with the relevant water act and grant then trade effluent status.

 

Progress will be released via this platform.