Storing waste, wastewater or sewage
You should have procedures for safely storing waste or sewage at your site.
What you must do
Check if you need a licence or registered exemption
If you store waste or sewage at your site, you may need a waste management licence or registered exemption.
If your business has a licence or exemption you must comply with its conditions, including any conditions about storing waste or sewage.
Does your waste or sewage business need a permit, licence or exemption?
Contact your environmental regulator
For further information on exemptions, see our waste exemptions guidance.
There are special requirements for handling and storing animal by-products.
Manage your storage areas
- Position storage areas away from watercourses.
- Storage areas should have adequate drainage and bunds to contain any contaminated run-off and prevent it from spreading between storage and treatment areas.
- Put up signs in storage areas to show the quantity and characteristics of the wastes stored and the maximum storage capacity.
- Separate different types of waste.
- Store all waste under cover where possible.
- Store aerosol cans under cover in closed containers to reduce the rate of rusting and risk of exploding.
- Do not overstock storage areas. There should be adequate space for vehicles or pedestrians to access all areas.
- Do not carry out activities that create a fire risk in storage areas, such as smoking or welding.
- Do not allow waste to accumulate.
- Do not store hazardous or liquid wastes in open-topped tanks, vessels or pits.
- Use a waste tracking system to record where you have stored waste or sewage.
Secure your site and storage areas
Take precautions to prevent intruders or unauthorised personnel from entering your site. For example:
- build secure fences around your site
- use security cameras
- lock your storage areas.
You can be prosecuted if materials stored on your site cause pollution, even if it was caused by an accident or vandalism.
Manage your storage containers
Make sure that containers, tanks, drums or other storage vessels have securely fitted lids.
Make sure you are able to close connections between storage vessels and direct overflow pipes to a contained drainage system.
Clearly label all storage vessels with the:
- date of arrival of the waste
- composition of the waste
- unique reference number it was given when you received it at the site.
Regularly inspect and maintain all storage vessels, storage areas and drainage infrastructure.
Plan to replace underground storage tanks without secondary containment with aboveground storage tanks that have suitable bunds.
Underground storage tanks without secondary containment can cause land or water pollution if they leak.
Route pipes above ground, or if they are underground place them within inspection channels.
Storing hazardous/special waste
- Store hazardous/special waste in waterproof, flame resistant, shockproof and alkali leak-proof cases.
- Do not store different types of hazardous/special waste together. For example, store lead-acid batteries together and do not mix them with non-lead acid batteries as this could cause a chemical reaction.
- Do not store hazardous/special waste near drains, watercourses or surface waters.
- Minimise the time you store hazardous/special waste at your site.
- Prevent waste batteries from being crushed or cracked to minimise the risk of short circuits causing a fire hazard.
More Storage handling and transport of waste topics