Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Disposal to land where no public sewer is available

Disposal of effluent to land

You might be able to pump your trade effluent to the nearest public sewer.

Alternatively you may be able to treat the effluent on site before discharging it to land using a soakaway.

What you must do

Before you discharge treated trade effluent you must have:

  • in Northern Ireland a discharge consent, groundwater authorisation or pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • in Scotland an authorisation under the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR). CAR requirements are also met within authorisations under  pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit, Waste Management Licence (WML) or the The Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

If you have an authorisation (including consent, licence or PPC permit) it will specify the maximum concentrations of pollutants allowed in the effluent. You will need to decide how to achieve these limits. You may be able to change your processes, or you could consider using an effluent treatment system. 

See the page in this guideline: Using septic tanks and package treatment plants.

You must not discharge trade effluent to land without prior permission.

If you are setting up a new business you should investigate effluent disposal before you choose the location of your business.

Further Information

Preventing water pollution

GPP 4: Treatment and disposal of sewage where no foul sewer is available (PDF 245 KB)

DAERA Regulating Water Discharges

Septic tanks

Back to Trade effluent home page

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