The Importance Of Trade Effluent Meter Readings

As a responsible water and wastewater retailer, Wave aims to help customers reduce their billing costs, improve their water efficiency, and reduce their impact on their local environment wherever possible.

You might not expect it, but meter readings are a big part of helping us to achieve these goals - and it is important not only for your standard water supply, but also for your Trade Effluent too.

This article explains that while we have a duty to inform and guide our customers on best practises to help meet their needs as we move towards a more sustainable future, it is also your responsibility to ensure you fully comply with your Trade Effluent Consent and the associated Environmental legislation.

Trade Effluent Consent Obligations

When we talk about Trade Effluent as we have in our recent article explaining the different types of wastewater, we are referring to “any waste waters from a trade process (not including domestic effluent) which discharges to a public sewer".

As part of complying with the Trade Effluent Consent, your business needs to be aware of the volume of trade effluent discharged per day, which is consented with a maximum daily limit to ensure that the treatment works has sufficient capacity. Similarly, the flow rate of discharge is set to ensure the sewer systems can handle the peak volume discharged. By monitoring the agreed conditions of your Trade Effluent Consent, it’s much easier to show compliance with your legal obligations and avoid financial penalties and possible criminal charges.

So why are Trade Effluent meter readings important?

Unlike your main water meters which are read by Wave, it is your responsibility to read any private meters such as water sub-meters, boreholes or effluent meters. These meters are still integral to making sure your bills are as accurate as possible, so it’s important that you send these reads to the Trade Effluent billing team at Wave at a regular frequency, so we can charge for the actual volume discharged.  Measuring the amount of effluent discharged each day, week or month is vital to show that you are in control and managing your Consent and it may be a requirement of your Consent to send these to the Wholesaler at a regular frequency, as well as Wave.

If you don’t send us a regular read, we may need to use an estimate which could result in the volumes charged for being higher than they should. This will correct itself when the next read is provided. As well helping you forecast future costs, providing regular meter readings makes it easier to identify trends and help demonstrate compliance with your Consent.

Another key reason for submitting your reads regularly, is that Trade Effluent charges are not only based on the volume, but on the strength of the effluent and the concentration of solids it contains. If your effluent is sampled by the Wholesaler each month, it’s really important that the right volume of effluent is paired with the correct strength Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and solids concentrations. For example, if you worked on a special project one month that caused a slightly higher than normal COD concentration, ensuring Wave know the correct volume for this period means only that volume would be charged at the higher strength.

Calculated Discharges

In some scenarios such as with landfill sites, it’s not possible to meter the water in or the effluent discharged directly, so other calculations agreed with the Wholesaler are used to determine the amount of effluent discharged.  With the landfill site example, it’s common to measure the surface area of the site and determine the rainfall in any given month, as a basis of calculating the effluent volume.  If your Consent volume is measured in such a way, we need these volumes at a regular frequency, as we would an effluent meter read.

Impact on Safety and the Environment

As well as volume and rate, we also need to consider the chemical composition of the Trade Effluent that is being discharged and its relative strength. It’s important to understand what your Trade Effluent is made up of, as there can be severe environmental impacts if levels go unchecked.

Depending on your industry, certain businesses may need to discharge wastewater or liquids with a heavy metal or high acid content, for example. It is possible to avoid contamination and pollution of water ways by understanding the strength of your discharge and this also helps protect sewers from things like acid corrosion.

Of course, not all Trade Effluent is toxic or harmful, but being aware of what is being discharged, at what time, and what quantity all helps protect sewer workers as well as any unexpected spills to the Environment.

Where to send your Trade Effluent meter readings and calculated discharge volumes

Please email your meter reading together with the date it was taken to, and we will add it to our billing system. Please do this as close as possible to the read date.

If you need any further information around Trade Effluent, you can view our Guide to Trade Effluent page. To find out more about Trade Effluent Consent and to apply for it for your business, please view this page here, or get in touch with us here.