About trade effluent

Trade effluent is any liquid waste that is discharged from a business premises to the public sewers. You must have a trade effluent licence to discharge trade effluent to the sewer.

Trade effluent discharges vary in their nature, composition, and volume depending on the business. There is also varying capacity in our sewers and wastewater treatment plants.

This means Irish Water must carefully assess and regulate all discharges to our sewer network in order to ensure that public health, our operations and the environment are fully protected

Trade Effluent licence

Trade effluent discharges to sewer are regulated by Irish Water or the EPA. You must have a trade effluent licence or an EPA licence to discharge trade effluent to the sewer. The type and scale of activity will determine the regulatory authority responsible for licensing the trade effluent discharged to the sewer.

A trade effluent licence sets out conditions that businesses must comply with. These may include:

  • The nature, composition and volume of the trade effluent discharge
  • The method of treatment, the location of discharge and the periods during which discharge may be made
  • The taking and analysis of trade effluent samples and the trade effluent records that must be kept
  • Applicable charges for discharging trade effluent, as approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU)

The licence application fee is a once off payment and currently stands at €380. Charges for the provision of general water & wastewater services shall be as per charges as set out in Irish Water’s Charges Plan.

Who needs a licence

The following list gives examples of the different business types that should have a Trade effluent licence. Other sectors that can require a licence include manufacturing, engineering, and construction.

Food service establishments

Restaurants, takeaways and establishments where food is prepared must have a Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Trade Effluent licence.

Food and drink

Meat/fish/dairy and food processing, breweries, distilleries, concentrates/soft drinks producers, bakeries, large-scale production kitchens, and confectionary

Biopharma and chemical

Chemicals, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals, human and animal health

Institutional

Hospitals, universities, and healthcare facilities

Commercial

Carwashes, service stations, hotels, launderettes, dry cleaners, swimming pools, spas, leisure centres, and caravan parks

Waste sector

Landfills, waste transfer stations, recycling facilities, waste processing, treatment and storage facilities, and incinerators