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Where Does Water Go?

Water plant

Every use of water, whether it is in the kitchen, the bathroom or the rainwater falling from your roof, dirties it. This used, dirty water is known as waste water.

Our waste water services

We collect and treat more than 864 megalitres of waste water from Scottish households, businesses and industry every day.

The environment

European legislation has set high standards for protecting the environment especially with regard to the discharge of waste water in to rivers and coastal waters. Scottish Water is committed to this cause and as a result we are investing millions of pounds in upgrading and building new waste water treatment and waste water systems.

All discharges into water courses must comply with quality standards set by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). You can contact SEPA directly for guidance, data, regulations and reports on environmental issues at or visit their website at

How do we treat your waste water?

Your waste water passes down your drains in to the sewer network and from there our vast network of pipes and pumps transport it on to our waste water treatment works. Across Scotland we have over 1800 waste water treatment works where we reduce contamination in the water to environmentally acceptable levels before returning the treated water to rivers and the sea.

A typical treatment process

1. preliminary treatment (screening - grit removal)
2. primary treatment (sedimentation )
3. secondary treatment (biological filtration or activated sludge)
4. final treatment (final settlement)

Read more about how we treat our waste water.

Find out more about where your responsibility for your household waste water starts and ends and where we pick up the waste water treatment process from your home.