Licensing & Permitting

Discharge Licencing

Discharge Licencing

Republic of Ireland

A discharge licence is required where trade effluent is discharged to either a public sewer, surface water or groundwater body. Trade effluent is a wastewater that is discharged from a facility used for the carrying on of any trade or industry but does not include domestic sewage or storm water discharges.

Trade effluent discharges must be licenced by either Irish Water or the relevant Local Authority. Domestic type wastewater discharges also known as sewage from commercial and industrial facilities to sewers generally does not require a discharge licence, however a licence would be required if the discharge is directly to a surface water body.

Discharges of other types of wastewater (e.g. amenity wastewater, process water etc.) from commercial and industrial facilities is normally subject to a licence for discharges to sewer or surface water. A discharge licence is typically not required for domestic sewage discharges not exceeding 5m3 in any period of 24 hours that is discharged to a groundwater aquifer from a septic tank or other disposal unit by means of a percolation pit, soakage pit or other method.  A discharge licence is required where a discharge of domestic sewage from a septic tank is directly to a surface water body and in all cases where the discharge volume exceeds 5m3 in a 24-hour period.

Many industrial processes do not generate process wastewater or effluent but may discharge other water such as cooling waters from cooling towers, boiler blow down waters etc. These are regarded as trade effluent and would require a discharge licence to be obtained.

A trade effluent discharge licence sets out conditions that businesses must comply with and these can include some of the following:

  • 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; and
  • Applicable charges for discharging trade effluent.

If you are unsure as to whether your activity requires a discharge licence, we here at AVRIO can help.  We have extensive experience over the years in the application and submission of discharge licence applications to the relevant authorities. AVRIO will carry out the application and submission process in the fastest timeframe possible.

Northern Ireland

Under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, the consent of the Department of Environment is required to discharge any trade or sewage effluent (including site drainage liable to contamination) from commercial, industrial or domestic premises into waterways or water contained in any underground strata.

Discharge consents include conditions stipulating the quality and quantity of effluent that can be discharged. The conditions will be formulated to ensure that the discharge can be sustained by the receiving waterway without damaging the aquatic environment or breaching national or European Commission (EC) standards.

The Industrial and Domestic Consent Section of NIEA Water Management Unit is responsible for the issue of discharge consents, and assessing compliance against the conditions contained within them, taking appropriate enforcement action as required.

In addition, if you plan to discharge to a watercourse or intend to carry out works that will impact on the free flow of a watercourse approval is required from Northern Ireland Rivers Agency, this is known as a schedule 6 consent.

If you are unsure as to whether your activity requires a discharge consent or a schedule 6 consent, we at AVRIO can determine what exactly is required for your activity. We liaise on your behalf with the relevant regulatory authorities and carry out the application and submission process from start to finish in the fastest timeframe possible.