Water and waste water bills are to become a lot more accurate in the future, why is this?

Author: Graham Mann, Water Audit Expert.

First let me explain how most waste water charges are applied and charged – Waste water charges or sewerage charges are more often than not based on a percentage of assumed volume discharged, this is a default position by all water and waste water companies. Unless you can prove to the satisfaction of the water or waste water company the customer will be charged based on an agreed percentage volume and not all water companies are the same, see these examples: –

Yorkshire Water – They charge 95% of the water volume in through the water meter as waste water out. 100 cubic meters of water used and 95 cubic meters charged as waste water.

Thames Water – They charge 100% of water volume in through the water meter as waste water out. 100 cubic meters of water used and 100 cubic meters charged as waste water.

Anglian Water – They charge 90% of the water volume in through the water meter as waste water out. 100 cubic meters of water used and 90 cubic meters charged as waste water.

Is this a fair way to charge for waste water?

Some business maybe, but what if your business uses water for irrigation, the water used will certainly not return to the water company sewer so therefore on the percentage waste water charging structures imposed by most water companies the customers may have been over charged for years. Indeed, take a large leisure park with caravans, mobile homes and swimming pools, losses through evaporation via the swimming pools and water features, washing caravans, irrigation and probably water leakage underground due to the thousands of old plumbing fittings that have be laid underground for decades and damaged pipework, in these situations a standard default rate for waste water volume charges simply could not be an accurate charging structure, so in reality business customers are not paying accurate waste water charges, both overcharged and undercharged.

BUT – What if you could meter with accuracy all of the waste water discharged to the water company sewer, in that case your waste water bills may be substantially less than the default position. “Pay for what you use” is a big deal for customers, charges for waste water may be about to change.

Wessex Water working in partnership with Dynamic Flow Technologies is testing the first waste water meter which is capable of accurately measuring the smallest of waste water flows. The device is on trial fitted on a sewer pipe to monitor the volume of waste water running through it. The device uses microwave technology and has nothing invasive in the pipe, it can measure flows as low as 0.02 litres per second.

The device seen in the picture below will be a game changer in the water audit industry, there will be winners and losers when this device goes to market. We will keep you posted as to further developments.

Waste Water Discharge Meter for waste water billing