Based on enquiries and reports from across the UK and the new lockdown measures currently applying to mainland Scotland, Scottish Water is aware the temporary closure of cafés, bars and restaurants introduced under measures to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic could lead to a reduction in demand for milk and beer at such premises. The consequences of this may be raw milk remaining uncollected from farms or unprocessed at dairies, meaning it may require to be disposed of and kegged beer becoming spoiled, meaning it may require to be destroyed.

Milk and beer must not be discharged into a drain or sewer without first obtaining permission from Scottish Water. Milk and beer can harm the biological treatment processes at our wastewater treatment works or have a serious impact on the ecology of watercourses if discharged into a surface water drainage system. Scottish Water recommends customers seek sustainable ways to dispose of or reuse surplus waste milk or beer, following guidance from the appropriate authorities such as SEPA and HMRC and only considers a discharge to the public sewer as a last resort.

Where a customer seeks permission to discharge surplus milk or beer to the public sewer because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Scottish Water may authorise the discharge (subject to such conditions which may apply) and may take monitoring samples during the period of the increased discharge is made. 

Before making any discharges to sewer the customer must apply to Scottish Water for temporary authorisation. Customers can apply directly to Scottish Water (or via their Licenced Provider). A shortened Application Form for individual requests and an Application Spreadsheet for bulk requests are available from TEQ@scottishwater.co.uk. Completed application forms should be submitted to the same e-mail address.

Scottish Water will consider the application and decide if the discharge can be authorised. Where Scottish Water does authorise a discharge to sewer, the following would apply:

  • Where a customer has a TE Consent and a private TE meter used for charging purposes and the additional volume of surplus milk/beer is recorded through the meter in addition to the normal volume of trade effluent discharged. In this situation when the temporary discharge has ended the customer can request via their LP to have the surplus volume deducted from the totalised effluent discharge volume recorded by the effluent meter. The customer must keep records of the volume of surplus discharged each day and provide this to Scottish Water with the request.
  • Where a customer has a TE Consent and a private TE meter is not used for charging purposes or the additional volume of surplus milk/beer is not recorded through the effluent meter, by default the additional volume will not be included in the discharge volume calculations. The customer must keep records of the volume of surplus discharged each day and provide this to Scottish Water upon request.
  • Where a customer does not already have a TE Consent, Scottish Water may issue a temporary authorisation, where the service will be considered to be included in the wholesale service already applying at the supply point (no additional wholesale charges will apply).   The customer must keep records of the volume of surplus discharged each day and provide this to Scottish Water upon request.
  • Where appropriate, any monitoring samples taken by Scottish Water during the period of the discharge of the surplus milk/beer would be excluded from the calculation of fixed strengths for the next financial year (21/22).

Scottish Water will give consent/authorisation only where sufficient capacity exists to accommodate the discharge within our infrastructure and where the discharge will not cause harm. Discharges must be made to the foul/combined sewer and the customer must comply with any conditions Scottish Water imposes; this is a legal requirement under the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968. Scottish Water may refuse to grant consent where we deem a proposed discharge poses a risk and may recover from the Customer any expenses that it reasonably incurs due to a discharge being made without authorisation or contrary to the conditions imposed. Scottish Water will review this position periodically.