We are always looking to improve the efficient use of resources and minimise the effect on the environment of our activities. With the drive to look at more circular approaches to our operations and the pressures climate change there is an increasing demand for lower impact resources.
Final effluent is the cleaned and treated water from our Water Recycling Centres which is permitted by the Environment Agency for discharge directly into the environment. In some cases, this final effluent is suitable for industrial or business activities and we have seen that this material can be an alternative to potable water.
We’ve therefore detailed below the process involved in applying for an agreement to purchase final effluent and the controls and conditions that may be put in place.
What are the legalities?
When final effluent isn’t discharged directly to the environment it is legally a waste. This means that the relevant waste regulations apply and we need to be sure that the material we supply is being used and disposed of appropriately before we provide an agreement for sales.
To ensure that the sale of the final effluent is compliant with regulations we require proof that there is suitable permission in place for its use from the Environment Agency and that the end point is also suitably permitted/consented.
What are the limitations?
Human health will always have to be our prime concern and with that in mind, it is understandable that the use of final effluent for activities that comes into direct contact with humans may be unlikely to get permission from the Environment Agency unless you are planning on carrying out further treatment or have other controls in place.
We are also discharging to the environment and we may not be able to sell final effluent to you where our contribution to the environment is key in providing a stable and healthy environment for the species and habitats in the area.
As these concerns exist, in our application form, we ask for details on what you are using the final effluent for and what permissions you already have in place. This is not intended to limit your application but to ensure that when we are reviewing the application we have all the relevant information at hand.
I’m not ready to apply yet but I have a question
We would welcome early discussions where you are exploring your options. We can’t, at this stage, confirm that we would agree to a sale as there are internal consultations and assessments that need to be made.
If you want to know the ‘in principle’ answer to if the final effluent is available from a particular works please get in touch with us and we will provide you with some guidance so you can take the next step in your pre-application consultations with third parties.
I am ready to apply, what do I need to do?
If you are happy that you have sufficient information for us to assess your application then it is time to complete the form.
If the application is coming through your retailer then please make sure those details are complete. However, this is not market eligible therefore you are not required to use a retailer.
Once you have completed the form you need to raise a payment for the application fee. We will be in touch with you once we receive your application to discuss the fee and the payment method.
What do you do once you have the form?
Once a completed form and application fee have been received we will allocate the application to a colleague to process. This colleague will assess that the form is complete and inform you that it is ‘Duly Made’ and at this stage we will begin our detailed consultations and assessments internally. There will be two month service level agreement meaning that we will determine your application within 2 months of the Duly Made date.
If your application requires further details we will contact you and stop the clock on the two month service level agreement and restart that clock once the agreed details are submitted.
What will I get at the end?
You will get an agreement for the sale of the final effluent for up to 3 years from the date of signature.
This agreement will have break clauses for all parties for environmental and operational reasons.
You will be able to take up to the agreed volume of final effluent from the agreed point on the agreed site for the agreed purpose. If any of these should change you will need to contact us with a request to revise the agreement. This process will be charged at the same level as the application fee and is essentially a second application process.
What is the quality of the final effluent?
We will only commit to achieving the limits set out in the Environmental Permit which has been issued to us by the Environment Agency to discharge to the environment.
However, if you would like more details we will test the final effluent, at your cost, for other parameters. This will allow you to understand what further treatment you may need to undertake to ensure that the material is suitable for your usage.
If anything should happen to our processes we will inform you if we think the risks are significant enough.
What will I be charged?
Our charges are published here, but in summary you will be charged:
An application fee (either bespoke or standard).
A volumetric cost for the final effluent that you are using.
The cost of additional services including any other legal agreements, meter installation, or additional sampling.
If you would like more information please contact us by calling 03457 91 91 55 and tell the Customer Services Advisor that you wish to consider purchasing final effluent. Please let them know your location and say that you would like to speak with an Environmental Permitting Scientist within the Environmental Quality Team.