COVID-19 trade effluent updates

Disposal of waste beer and/or cider from a public house, club, restaurant or other similar establishments

Please note, this policy will be effective until 30 September 2021.

After this date, any requests to discharge this type of effluent will need to follow the usual market processes via the Retailer and wholesale charges will apply.


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of many business premises. These include public houses, clubs, restaurants and similar establishments. This has resulted in a requirement to dispose of the contents of kegs/casks that have now gone out of date. Normally these would be returned to source, but our understanding is that this is not possible at the present time due to the government restrictions.

The disposal of waste beer/cider to sewer is not usually permitted. However given the continued unprecedented nature of the current situation we may be prepared to allow the discharge of such liquids into our network under certain conditions.

Our approach
  • From 1 February 2021 customers that cannot use alternative methods of disposal and wish to discharge waste beer or cider to our network from a public house, club, restaurant or other similar establishment must contact us first via
  • No discharge should be made until written approval with conditions of discharge are received from the Trade Effluent team at Southern Water.
  • We encourage bulk requests from pub companies over individual requests per pub where possible. Individual pubs are asked to liaise with their associated brewery where applicable to avoid duplicate applications as this could impact the acceptability of the discharge.

To request permission to discharge waste beer or cider into our network customers should contact the Trade Effluent team directly or via their retailer sending all requests to the mailbox.

The following information must be provided:

  • Discharge address
  • Contact details of person responsible for discharge (Phone number and email address)
  • Total volume to be discharged (in litres or gallons)
  • Proposed start date of discharge (approximately)

If applying for multiple sites this information should be provided in table format (i.e. Excel).

This will allow us to assess the potential impact of the discharge. If acceptable we will provide written confirmation of the conditions that must be met to discharge the effluent requested safely.

We aim to respond to all enquiries within 10 business days. To ensure you get a timely response please provide all the information requested above and ensure the volume you are applying for is the maximum; repeat or amended requests will take longer to process.

Please note: It is an offence under Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991 to discharge anything to a sewer which will adversely impact the sewerage network or treatment processes.

Beer and cider are high in chemical oxygen demand which is a measure of the potential oxygen consumption of the effluent, this can have a significant impact on our treatment works and the environment.

This is a COVID-19 specific policy which will be reviewed regularly. Last reviewed August 2021. 

Trade effluent sampling and compliance

Trade effluent sampling for compliance is still a critical process for our business to ensure our assets and the environment are not negatively impacted. It is just as crucial now as before to ensure trade effluent discharges are compliant to their Trade Effluent consent conditions.

We will be continuing to carry out compliance sampling visits where possible. We understand that in these unprecedented times there may be additional safety measures in place at trade effluent sites; we want to respect these and work with traders to get a representative sample of trade effluent safely.

Please note: We will be following the government guidelines on social distancing and will wear masks where this may not be possible. This is not only for your safety and ours but for our other customers, our families and communities.


Changes to your trade effluent processes or water usage

We understand that with the government announcements on 23 March 2020 many businesses have been impacted and that this might have an effect on trade effluent production.

If you have an enquiry about your trade effluent bill please contact your Retailer. If you need to report a change in site process or status as per your trade effluent consent please contact your Retailer and the trade effluent mailbox:

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