The Water Industry Act 1991 defines trade effluent as: “any liquid, either with or without particles of matter in suspension in the liquid, which is wholly or partly produced in the course of any trade or industry carried on at trade premises".

In effect, any wastewater that does not come from domestic use, such as sinks, toilets or guttering, is classified as trade effluent. This means that many businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector will not need to apply for consent to discharge because the majority of their effluent is a domestic waste.

Staff working in kitchens

However, staff working in kitchens do need to be more careful about what is put down the sink in order to avoid blockages which, if found to have been caused by negligence, could result in fines. Blockages like fatbergs cause huge problems, are very disruptive and cost thousands of pounds to clean up. Which is why the Act states that “no person shall throw, empty or turn, or suffer or permit to be thrown or emptied or to pass, into any public sewer, or into any drain or sewer communicating with a public sewer any matter likely to injure the sewer or drain, to interfere with the free flow of its contents, or to affect prejudicially the treatment and disposal of its contents”.

industrial kitchen

So fats, grease and waste food need to be disposed of in other ways, such as being placed in the bin, and grease traps and strainers need to be installed in sinks to prevent accidental discharge. Cooking oils must be safely disposed of by a licensed waste contractor.

Commercial swimming pools

There are different rules covering swimming pools provided by commercial leisure and hospitality businesses. Water from swimming pools is classified as trade effluent with the exception of: “swimming pools at homes and hotels where they are provided free for residents and when the effluent is discharged in combination with other domestic sewage effluent”.

Therefore, you will only need to apply for consent if you run commercial swimming pools. NB: It is illegal to discharge trade effluent without consent.

Whatever the size of your business, if your company is producing wastewater that cannot be discharged into the sewerage system, talk to us for further advice about treatment services.

leisure centre

Saving money by saving water

Whether your hospitality and leisure business needs consent or not, you are being charged by the volume of water you waste as well as the volume of water you use. It, therefore, makes sense to take steps to make efficiencies which will not only reduce your bills but also increase your environmental credentials.  These can include:

  • Harvesting rainwater in water butts and using it to water plants. You will not only prevent the charges involved in allowing the water to go into the drainage system, but you’ll also be using less clean water from the mains.
  • Installing water-saving taps in sinks and showers.
  • Using eco-settings on dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Using ‘grey water’ - wastewater from sinks, showers, baths, washing machines etc - to flush toilets and urinals or water plants.
  • Installing water-saving devices like the ‘Hippo’ in toilet cisterns will save up to three litres of water per flush.
  • Installing urinal flush controls could save up to 60% of water.

We can help you identify areas where your business could save water by carrying out a water efficiency audit. For more information, call us on 01250 718718 or email us at