Severn Trent Water prosecutes a business for breach of their trade effluent waste water discharge consent limits, H20 asks have you checked your trade effluent charges

H20 Building Services logo - Trade effluent


All those businesses that discharge trade effluent should commission an expert to ensure full compliance with their trade effluent discharge consent, ensuring the business is not being overcharged or indeed undercharged.


What is trade effluent? 


Trade effluent is any liquid waste (effluent) other than surface water and domestic waste water that is discharged from a business premises trade or industrial process such as car washes, swimming pools, launderettes and large production companies and hospitals.


What is a trade effluent consent? 


A trade effluent consent is a legally binding document that allows the effluent discharger to discharge trade waste water into the water and waste water company sewers at an agreed flow rate and volume and the consent of the effluent discharge is within strictly controlled limits.

Failure to comply with the discharge consent would mean in some cases increased costs of discharge, a heavy fine and even prosecution and worst case scenario complete shutdown of the business.

The limits set within the consent are their to protect waste water treatment facilities, the environment and the effluent discharger.


There is a recent example of a breach of consent and a successful prosecution by Severn Trent Water, the business concerned discharged excess trade effluent into the sewer network.


The prosecution was brought against a black country firm Star Polishing and Plating Ltd  by Severn Trent Water under section 121 of the Water Industry Act.

Star Polishing and Plating Ltd was fined £3,600 and was ordered by the court to pay £4,256 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170 in a hearing at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court earlier this month.

Effluent samples taken by Severn Trent Water last year revealed chromium and nickel exceeded levels stipulated and discharged into the sewer, the PH level was also found to be outside the limits set and agreed in the trade effluent consent.


A spokesman in the commercial waste department for Severn Trent Water said “The prosecution and fine reflected the seriousness of the consent breach. It is ultimately our customers that pay for damage to our sewer network and treatment works and we hope this prosecution makes it clear that illegal discharges will be acted upon”


Water and waste water industry experts H20 Building Services have seen a marked increase in new client enquiries, particularly from manufacturing and production businesses.


Graham Mann Senior Partner at H20 Building Services reports bakeries, drug producing companies and heavy steel production not to mention environmental recycling companies and fish markets are just some of the type of companies that are approaching us on key trade effluent issues.


For example: –


Bakeries – Some ten sites, seven of which are in minor breach of their trade effluent consents and one company with three sites is seeking ways to reduce their trade effluent bills.

Two different drivers but the interesting part is without exception the charges can be reduced across all projects by 30% average with very short paybacks.


The fish market driver for approaching H20 Building Services was high costs due to incorrect setting up of the trade effluent account. Samples of the discharge were taken 7 years ago by the water company and never sampled again and the charges are 20% higher than they should be according to recent samples taken by H20 Building Services engineers.

Further investigations have revealed the effluent has potential to discharge to sea under an Environment Agency permit, saving 100% of the existing trade effluent bills.


The steel production firm can cut their water bill by 100% by recommissioning their off grid water supply and recycling their treated effluent discharge reducing the effluent bills by 80%.


So the advise is clear to all those businesses who have trade effluent consents


  • Ensure your business meets fully with its legal obligations 


  • Comply with your trade effluent discharge consent in full.


  • In doing so there is potential for saving money on your trade effluent MOGDEN charges and main water charges.


Don’t get caught out for being out of consent !