Chemical manufacturing environmental regulations

Chemical manufacturing water use authorisations


If you take or store surface water or groundwater from any source, you are abstracting or impounding water. For example, you may abstract or impound water to use in cooling processes in your chemical manufacturing business.

If you abstract or impound surface water or groundwater you can affect the environment and other water users.

Water abstraction licence - when you need one

You must have an abstraction licence from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) if you abstract more than 20 cubic metres (m³) of water per day from groundwater or surface waters.

If you abstract 20m³ or less of water per day you must:

  • be able to demonstrate the volume of water you abstract
  • minimise water leaks
  • prevent any contamination or pollution

If you abstract between 10m³ and 20m³ of water per day you must also notify the NIEA using their application form for an abstraction and impoundment licence.

Water impoundment licence - when you need one

You can impound water without contacting the NIEA as long as your impoundment:

  • does not control the water level upstream
  • is not associated with a water abstraction
  • does not create a difference in height of more than one metre between the upstream and downstream water surfaces

You will need an impoundment licence from the NIEA to impound water in all other circumstances.

Rivers Agency consent - when you need it

You must have consent from the Rivers Agency before you place structures in any waterway that could affect its drainage.