Trade effluent

The following information is aimed at current trade effluent dischargers and those that may wish to discharge trade effluent in the future.


Information for retailers can be found on our Wholesale customer portal.


Trade effluent

The Water Industry Act 1991 defines any used water discharged as a result of an activity carried out at a trade premises as “trade effluent”. Trade effluent will include any water used in a production process or in cleaning or cooling activities.


Trade effluent doesn't include domestic sewage such as used water from toilets or hand washing which might take place on the site. Businesses producing trade effluent vary in size from small launderettes to large chemical manufacturing facilities.

Our role in the retail market

We regulate trade effluent discharges through the issue of legal documents called consents and by monitoring and undertaking enforcement activities (see ‘Further information’ below for more details on enforcement). We also raise wholesale trade effluent charges to the retailers operating in our region. Since April 2017 non-household customers have been able to choose the retailer who carries out their billing and customer services functions. You can find out more about competition on the Open Water website. 


Trade effluent control

All used water entering the public sewerage system, including trade effluent, is carried to the local water recycling works so that it can be effectively treated and then returned safely to the environment. The purpose of trade effluent control is to ensure that it does not adversely affect this recycling process, including the sewers through which the trade effluent passes. Another key objective is that public health is protected, including those people working in our sewers.

If you wish to discharge trade effluent into a public sewer you are required by law to obtain a trade effluent consent from the Sewerage Undertaker responsible for the upkeep of the public sewer. Anglian Water is the Sewerage Undertaker in the east of England.

The discharge of trade effluent without consent is an offence and you may be subject to legal action if you do so. Trade effluent must not be discharged to a surface water drain, as it will then discharge directly to the environment without treatment.

How to apply for a consent (non-household premises)

If you think that your business requires a trade effluent consent you will need to contact your retailer and complete an application form called a Trade Effluent Notice (also known as a G/02 Form). Once we have received the completed application from your retailer we will process the consent. We will keep both you and your retailer informed at key stages.


If your application is unsuccessful we will provide the reason(s) as to why it has been refused. If we refuse to give consent, or the conditions of the consent are not as you require, or where Anglian Water has taken over two months to issue the consent, you have a right of appeal to Ofwat. However, we recommend that you discuss the matter with your retailer, who will contact us on your behalf, before contacting Ofwat.


Although we are primarily responsible for controlling trade effluent discharged to our sewers, there are occasions where the Environment Agency may apply additional conditions to your consent because of the substances in the discharge or the processes giving rise to the discharge. These conditions are focused on the control of persistent and/or toxic substances.


If you wish to alter the consent or no longer need it you must contact your retailer. You are responsible for ensuring that the consent is up to date and reflects the legal entity making the discharge, the process producing the trade effluent together with the flow and composition of the effluent.


Some low risk discharges are covered by a generic Regulatory Position Statement – please ask your retailer to contact Anglian Water to determine if this applies to your discharge. Other types of discharge are covered by process-specific Regulatory Position Statements – you can check to see if your discharge is one of these below:


If one of the above Regulatory Position Statements applies to your business you may not need to apply for a consent to discharge that particular effluent. If your discharge is covered by a Regulatory Position Statement you will need to read it carefully and ensure that you comply with any requirements. However, if you can’t meet the requirements or are uncertain as to whether or not you can meet them, please contact your Retailer.


How to apply for a consent (household premises)

If you plan to discharge trade effluent from a household premises you will need to contact Anglian Water directly by calling 03457 145 145. Please tell the Customer Services Advisor that you wish to discharge trade effluent from a household premises, give them your location and say that you would like to speak to one of our Catchment Quality Team.


What the consent allows you to do

The trade effluent consent is specific to you, your premises and the process from which the trade effluent is discharged. It will contain conditions such as:


  • maximum volume and flow rate
  • temperature, pH and other chemical parameters
  • the permitted nature and composition of the trade effluent
  • the point of entry to the public foul sewer
  • the monitoring point we use to sample the trade effluent.

Additional conditions may be imposed to control or exclude any persistent or harmful substances in the discharge. All conditions and limits in the consent are legally binding and failure to comply with these can result in prosecution.


Monitoring and sampling

From time to time our Catchment Quality Team will contact you or visit your premises and may sample your trade effluent to assess the quality of the discharge and to determine the strength of the effluent for wholesale charging purposes. Trade effluent discharges which are comparatively innocuous will be sampled less frequently than those that represent a higher potential risk.  


Private meters

Some trade effluent customers have private meters used to calculate trade effluent volumes discharged. If you are installing a new meter, replacing an existing meter or think you might have a faulty private meter please complete the private meter form. Please note that we require a photograph of installed meters that clearly shows the meter details and meter read.

Further information

For more information about trade effluent please click on the links below. For all other general enquiries regarding trade effluent please contact your retailer.


Trade effluent explained 


Our Trade Effluent Explained booklet provides information about the discharge, treatment and regulation of trade effluent within the Anglian Water region.


Trade effluent enforcement policy


Our Trade Effluent Enforcement Policy provides an overview of our approach to the enforcement of trade effluent consents.