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Trade Effluent

SW worker outside van working on road 

Most companies who use water generate waste water, much of which discharges into the public waste water system. This is then passed to a waste water treatment works to be treated to an appropriate standard before being returned to the environment.

Scottish Water controls all significant trade effluent discharges to our sewers through a system of permits known as Consents and Letters of Authorisation. This system of control was initiated by the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 (as amended 2002) and is still in force.

What is trade effluent?

The legal definition covers any liquid waste 'produced in the course of any trade or industry' which is discharged to the waste water system.

'Trade effluent' includes water used in production, washing or cooling facilities, and covers both large and small premises, including businesses such as car washes and launderettes.

Discharges not covered include those from hotels, caravan sites or restaurants.

Consent system

Any company with a significant trade effluent discharge must obtain a trade effluent consent, which is a legal document that sets limits on the volume and nature of the discharge.

Scottish Water carries out sampling of consented discharges to monitor whether the discharge complies with these limits, and follow an enforcement procedure in the event of serious breaches of the consent conditions.

Smaller discharges may be controlled by issuing a Letter of Authorisation.

A trade effluent consent

If you think you require a trade effluent consent please contact your Licensed Provider, or contact Scottish Water on 0800 0778 778 and ask for a member of the Trade Effluent Quality team.

Visit NetRegs for plain English guidance, e-tools and videos on how to comply with environmental regulations and go beyond compliance.