Consent To Discharge

Paul Downing

You will need a consent to discharge if you allow treated effluent to enter a watercourse or groundwater.

You may own a small package type treatment plant. However, you may use a large treatment plant at your industrial facility. If you discharge trade effluent you may need to undertake a specific substances assessment.

Your consent to discharge will therefore allow you to discharge in accordance to certain parameters.

In the case of sewage treatment plants, where you are not on the mains sewer these tend to be, for instance

  • Biological oxygen demand (BOD)
  • Ammoniacal nitrogen N(H)3
  • Suspended solids (SS)
  • pH

In the case of industrial treatment plants it is usually

  • Chemical oxygen demand (COD)
  • Suspended solids (SS)
  • pH
  • Plus any of the parameters that you use in your industrial facility that end up in the treatment plant

Consent To Discharge

For many small scale environmental permits you can apply for a standard rules permit. For most industrial facilites it will be a bespoke environmental permit. The Environment Agency may impose pre-treatment options on your effluent before discharge.

Standard rules permit applications are relatively straight forward, however, bespoke permit applications are more complex and take longer to be issued. Current backlogs however, mean a bespoke permit can take upwards of one year to go through.

You will not be allowed to discharge effluent therefore until you have a permit. We have helped many housing developers and industrial facilities apply for an obtain the relevant permit.

Discharges can either be to surface water (A river) or to groundwater (ground), via a borehole or deep well structure. Many small scale sewage treatment plants use a drainage field to discharge over a large area.

You cannot discharge to a dry ditch or small stream that dries up in the summer. Likewise for groundwater discharges you cannot therefore discharge close to a well or pumping station used for abstracting drinking water.

Call us today if you need help with a discharge consent.

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