Many businesses have been forced to temporarily close their doors due to government restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. One industry that has been hit particularly hard by these restrictions is the licensed premises sector including public houses, clubs, restaurants, and similar establishments.

As a result of these closures, many licensed premises have surplus stock of kegs & casks that have now gone out of date and are required to be disposed of. Normally these would be returned to the source, but this is not possible under the current COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures. The disposal of waste beer/cider to the sewer is not usually permitted. However, given the unprecedented nature of the current situation, we may see the introduction of changes to allow the discharge of such liquids into the network under certain conditions.

It should be noted that it is an offence under s.111 of the Water Industry Act 1991 to discharge anything to a sewer which will adversely impact on the sewerage network or water recycling centre treatment processes. Any discharge not covered by a permit or consent is subject to this part of the Act. Beer and cider are high in chemical oxygen demand which is a measure of the potential oxygen consumption of the effluent, this can have a significant impact on treatment works and the environment.

So, what is the latest guidance from the Wholesalers on this issue?

Well, below you will find a list of wholesalers and their individual customer requirements for the disposal of beer and cider during COVID-19 restrictions.

casks

Thames Water

Thames Water says that if the proposed discharge of beer is from a brewery or a micro-brewery within a pub - customers need to apply for a Short Term Discharge Consent (G03) via Castle Water as the retailer.

If the proposed discharge of beer/cider is from a pub or restaurant (whether casks are opened or unopened), customers can send their request by completing the Application Template and sending to Trade.Effluent@Thameswater.co.uk.

Southern Water

The advice from Southern Water is that customers who wish to discharge waste beer or cider to their network from a public house, club, restaurant or other similar establishment you are advised to contact them first in all instances. You can contact Southern Water directly via trade.effluent@southernwater.co.uk.

If contacting Southern Water directly, they would like to encourage bulk requests from pub companies over individual requests per pub where possible. If applying for multiple sites Southern Water would ask that this information is provided in table format (i.e. excel).

When contacting Southern Water with your request, the following information must be provided:

  • Discharge address
  • The total volume to be discharged
  • Nature of discharge (beer and/or cider)

draft beer pouring

United Utilities

To advise customers on disposal of surplus outdated casks and kegs, United Utilities have been liaising with a representative from the Beer Association.

As this discharge can be a high risk to some rural works, United Utilities are requesting that their customers notify them of every discharge. They require the discharger to notify them via their retailer who will submit the detail on their behalf as a general enquiry (G1). This will then be logged on United Utilities case management system (JIRA) so they can trace it and also respond via the case.

Should your retailer by Castle Water, and you wish us to general enquiry (G1) on your behalf, please contact us at teconsents@castlewater.co.uk

Below is the information that United Utilities will require:

  • Pub name and full address with postcode
  • Contact details of person at the pub disposing of the beer – telephone numbers & email address
  • The volume of beer to be disposed of
  • The proposed date and time

Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water has made some amendments to the way they would like retailers to contact them regarding the disposal of waste beer due to Covid-19.

They would like to ensure that each establishment contacts them, via their retailer, to inform them that they have waste alcohol that needs to be disposed of.

Should your retailer by Castle Water, and you wish us to general enquiry (G1) on your behalf, please contact us at teconsents@castlewater.co.uk

Yorkshire Water would like to reiterate that without written consent from the Wholesaler to discharge to the public sewer it is a criminal offence under the water industry act 1991 and enforcement action may be taken against the occupier of the premise if they incorrectly dispose of the waste product.

The urgency in the customer requests being received by Retailers is understood by Yorkshire Water. To make submission easier and quicker for Retailers and their Customers, Yorkshire Water will not require a G/01 form for each individual SPID. They would like retailers to submit an excel file to the Yorkshire Water Wholesale Service Desk mailbox wholesaleservicedesk@yorkshirewater.co.uk with the following information:

  • Establishment name.
  • Establishment full address with postcode.
  • The volume of beer to be disposed of.
  • Contact details of the responsible person at the establishment – telephone numbers & email address.

beer kegs

Anglian Water

Anglian Water would normally seek to regulate the disposal of beer or cider to the sewer through a permitting or consenting process. However, given the unprecedented nature of the current situation, they are prepared to allow the discharge of such liquids into their network if the conditions stated in their ‘Our Approach’ section below are adhered to.

Note: The information provided here applies until such time as relevant establishments are allowed to re-open or a practical alternative disposal route is available, whichever is the sooner.

Our Approach (Anglian Water)

In order to discharge to sewer, the following conditions must be complied with:

  • All current HMRC guidance must be followed.
  • Kegs/casks must have been broached at the time of the closure of the premises, the contents of all un-broached kegs/casks must not be discharged into our network without the specific written permission of Anglian Water (see ‘What we expect from you’ below).
  • The discharge must be made to the foul sewer and not to a surface water sewer.
  • The discharge must be made between the hours of 07:00 and 12:00 only, this is to ensure that there is maximum dilution in the sewerage network.
  • The flow rate must not exceed one litre per second to ensure that it does not surcharge local sewers, cause flooding and/or overload the receiving water recycling centre (wastewater treatment works).
  • In rural areas no more than one broached keg/cask can be disposed of in any period of 60 minutes. If a higher rate of disposal is required you must contact Anglian Water and obtain our written permission.
  • The discharge must be made from a public house, club, restaurant or similar premises – this Regulatory Position Statement does not apply to breweries including micro-breweries on public house premises. All brewery discharges require specific written consent.
  • Written records of volume, date/time of disposal and the liquid disposed of must be kept for inspection by Anglian Water staff at the premises where the discharge has been made.

South West Water

South West Water state that they are aware of the position statements provided by other Wholesalers on the disposal of beer and cider, however, unfortunately, South West Water is unable to give a blanket statement permitting the discharge of waste beers and ciders to the sewer. This is due to the rural nature of much of their catchment area. The polluting nature of beer would overwhelm the receiving treatment works, potentially leading to pollution of watercourses.

Many of South West Water’s smaller village treatment works are seeing significantly increased loadings due to home-based working and schooling which means insufficient headroom for additional discharges. Ideally, they would suggest an alternative means of disposal or removal at a regulated and permitted facility.

However, if you are looking to dispose of beer and/or cider to the sewer works, please contact South West Water at tradeeffluent@southwestwater.co.uk with your enquiry. Your email should include:

  • Request consent to discharge beer to South West Water foul sewer
  • Full address where discharge would take place
  • Volume (preferably Litres, if not Gallons) of liquids (e.g. beer, cider) they wish to discharge

Scottish Water

Based on enquiries and reports from across the UK, Scottish Water is aware the temporary closure of cafés, bars and restaurants introduced under measures to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic could lead to a reduction in demand for milk and beer at such premises. The consequences of this may be raw milk remaining uncollected from farms or unprocessed at dairies, meaning it may require to be disposed of and kegged beer becoming spoiled, meaning it may require to be destroyed.

Milk and beer must not be discharged into a drain or sewer without first obtaining permission from Scottish Water. Milk and beer can harm the biological treatment processes at wastewater treatment works or have a serious impact on the ecology of watercourses if discharged into a surface water drainage system. Scottish Water recommends customers seek sustainable ways to dispose of or reuse surplus waste milk or beer, following guidance from the appropriate authorities such as SEPA and HMRC and only considers a discharge to the public sewer as a last resort.

Where a customer requests via their Licensed Provider for Scottish Water to allow a temporary discharge of surplus milk or beer as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, Scottish Water may authorise the discharge (subject to such conditions which may apply) and may take monitoring samples during the period of the increased discharge is made.

Before making any discharges to sewer the customer must apply to Scottish Water for temporary authorisation. Customers can apply directly to Scottish Water or via their Licenced Provider). A shortened Application Form for individual requests and an Application Spreadsheet for bulk requests are available from TEQ@scottishwater.co.uk. Completed application forms should be submitted to the same e-mail address.

Trade effluent experts

Trade effluent requirements can be complex. Castle Water’s dedicated, expert trade effluent team has the experience and technology required to understand it like no one else – and we make the process simple.

Get a quote for your trade effluent requirements

To find out more about why consents are required for trade effluent, visit castlewater.co.uk/tradeeffluent

For further advice on disposal of beer and cider from public houses, clubs, restaurants and other similar establishments, read our guidance at castlewater.co.uk/covid19-beerciderdisposal