Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Your business can generate wastewater through a range of operations including:
Wastewater can contain high proportions of suspended solids or other contaminants. Your business activities will determine the nature of these contaminants. For example:
Establish exactly what is in the wastewater that your operations produce. You may need to have laboratory tests carried out on samples of your water.
Decide whether you can reuse the wastewater within your process and if so, whether you have to treat it before you can reuse it. For example:
To reuse wastewater or to treat wastewater you may need a waste management licence or to register an exemption.
An exemption allows you to recover or dispose of waste at the place where it is produced. This is only if the waste was generated from an integral part of the production process.
You will usually need to register an exemption with your environmental regulator for these activities.
You must still ensure that your activity does not:
You cannot dispose of liquid wastes in landfill.
If you cannot reuse your wastewater as part of your process, you may need to treat it to remove any contaminants before you dispose of it.
You could treat wastewater at your premises or this could be carried out off-site by a contractor. If your wastewater leaves your site for treatment elsewhere, the duty of care will apply to it.
If you decide to treat wastewater on your premises, you will need to employ a specialist to design, install and commission a suitable treatment process. The treatment process should ensure that the quality of the wastewater after treatment will allow you to discharge it to:
If you allow wastewater to enter the ground, watercourses, surface water drains or foul water sewers without permission, you may be committing an offence.
SEE ALSO: Mineral sector guidance
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
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Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
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