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Trade effluent

Trade effluent is any liquid waste that is discharged into our sewers from a business or industrial process, excluding domestic sewage such as that from toilets, bathing or handwashing. 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 non-household customers, such as businesses, charities or public sector organisations, your retailer should be your first point of contact. You can find more information on the Market Operator Services Ltd (MOSL) website.

By law, our consent is needed for any discharge of trade effluent into our sewerage network, and to comply with this you’ll need to use the following guidance.

Disposing of beer and cider

We’re aware that a number of pubs and restaurants may need to dispose of beer or cider as a result of coronavirus. 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.

From 1 July you’ll need to follow the consent application process as set out in the guidance within the ‘Approval’ section below, and wholesale charges will apply. Until then, we’ve put the following temporary process in place:

  • If you are a chain or have multiple pubs wishing to discharge, 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.
  • If you’re a single pub, please apply via your retailer using this form.
  • 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.
  • Please make sure you discharge within the allotted time specified by us, or you will need to re-apply.
  • Following approval, you’ll need to complete a return to us so we can monitor progress and volumes discharged.
  • If your pub is 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 you for disposing of beer and cider from pubs or restaurants during this temporary process. However, if you apply via your retailer they may charge you for their services.


Please contact us as above. We’ll send you an application 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. Our approval document will set out a limited period, with a start and end date when, subject to restrictions, you can discharge to the foul sewer.

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