Trade effluent

Trade effluent

Trade effluent is any liquid waste that is discharged into our sewers from a business or industrial process. We need to control anything like this entering public sewers, so it’s safely handled and treated before it's returned to the environment. For businesses, charities or public sector organisations, your retailer should be your first point of contact.

Consent is required for any planned discharge of trade effluent into our network.

Disposing of beer and cider

We’re aware that a number of pubs and restaurants may need to dispose of beer or cider during the current coronavirus outbreak. If you don’t tell us about your plans before doing so, this is likely to put a severe strain on our sewage treatment process and could cause pollution to the environment.

However, we realise this is an unprecedented period and want to work with companies to try to help. If you’re considering disposing of beer or cider via the public sewer system it’s important that you contact us, as you could be committing an offence under the Water Industry Act 1991.

  • You’ll need to contact our trade effluent team so we can send you a form to complete with full details – for example, the names and addresses of all your pubs, the number of casks/kegs and the volume in litres. Please call the team on 0203 577 9200 (9am to 5pm, Mon to Fri) or email us.
  • Once we receive this we’ll work with you to provide a single approval document covering all the pubs you’ve listed.
  • Please be aware that we may not be able to accept every discharge and some discharges may be refused. In this case you’ll need to provide an alternative means of disposal and provide us with records.
  • We’ll email you our approval once we’ve completed our assessment, specifying dates, times and volumes to be discharged.
  • Following approval, you’ll need to complete a return to us on a daily basis so we can monitor progress and volumes discharged.
  • If you’re a pub attached to a chain, we’ll ask you to contact your head office so they can make a bulk application for all their pubs.

This process strictly applies to the discharge of beer and cider from pubs and restaurants. If you’re a beer or cider producing brewery or microbrewery, please apply for a trade effluent consent via your retailer.

Please be aware that we won’t charge your company for disposing of beer and cider from pubs or restaurants. However, if you apply via your retailer they may charge you for their services.


Please contact us as above. We’ll send you the same form, which you’ll need to complete with information from the brewery or pub chain and send back to us. Please be aware this a temporary service, which we won’t charge for.


You mustn’t begin discharging beer or cider into the sewers until we’ve given our approval. The approval document will provide you with a window of opportunity, subject to restrictions, with a start and end date.

We’ll only issue our approval subject to our ability to receive the beer and cider, and at our sole discretion may retract or refuse any approval if you don’t comply with our terms and conditions.