Discharging trade effluent

How to apply for trade effluent consents


Most businesses that discharge to the public foul sewer need a trade effluent consent. Northern Ireland Water (NIW) draws up the consent document on the basis of certain legal rules.

For some discharges you may have a trade effluent agreement - for example, if your trade effluent discharges to the sewage treatment works via a private pipe. NI Water has more freedom in the conditions they include in agreements compared with trade effluent consents.

Applying for a trade effluent consent

You will need to apply to NIW if you want to discharge trade effluent into their public foul sewer or to a private sewer that connects to a public foul sewer.

It's always worth ringing NIW as soon as you can, so you can discuss whether your discharge will be acceptable and how long it will take them to process your application.

If your discharge contains certain priority or priority hazardous substances, such as mercury or cadmium, NIW may have to refer your application to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the process will take longer.

Appealing against a refused consent

You must not discharge to the public foul sewer until your consent has been granted. If NIW refuses consent you can appeal against that decision. You also have the right to appeal against the conditions in your consent to the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator.

Complying with your trade effluent consent

You must comply with all the conditions of your trade effluent consent. The conditions normally relate to:

  • where the discharge may be made
  • the rate and maximum volume of the discharge
  • the temperature of the discharge
  • monitoring and reporting requirements
  • how much you need to pay
  • the composition of the discharge - including maximum concentrations of specific substances

Changing your trade effluent consent

You must apply for a new or revised trade effluent consent or agreement if:

  • the volume or composition of your discharge changes
  • you are no longer able to comply with the conditions of your consent or agreement
  • you discontinue the discharge and then want to start it again

You should inform NIW immediately if your business changes its registered name, or is taken over by another organisation.