Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Trade effluent – Managing liquid wastes

What is trade effluent?

Trade effluent is any liquid waste (effluent), other than surface water and domestic sewage that is discharged from premises being used for a business, trade or industrial process.

Trade effluent can come from both large and small premises, including businesses such as car washes and launderettes. It can be effluent from the industrial or business process that is discharged into a public sewer, washed down a sink or toilet, or put into a private sewer that connects to the public sewer.

You will need to comply with legal restrictions regardless of how much trade effluent your business discharges.

Trade effluent may be waste water contaminated with materials such as:

  • fats, oils and greases
  • chemicals
  • detergents
  • heavy metal rinses
  • solids
  • food wastes

(Macerated food waste is banned from sewers in most cases from 1 Jan 2016 in Scotland, and from 1 April 2017 in Northern Ireland)

What is not trade effluent?

Liquid wastes which are not classed as trade effluent are:

  • domestic sewage, which includes wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and toilets
  • clean, uncontaminated surface water, ie clean rainwater which has not been contaminated when running over your site

Additional resources

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