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Business Wastewater Charges Explained


Updated: 24/04/2023

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Want to reduce your business water bills? Taking a look at your commercial wastewater charges is a great place to start.

Understanding your wastewater usage can help you reduce the amount you spend on utilities and maximise your profit.

If you are having problems with your wastewater bills, or believe you may be overcharged, seek advice. Your first port of call should be your water supplier. But be aware that the water market is regulated if you cannot resolve your problem. Ofwat is the regulator for the water sector in England and Wales. There are separate regulators in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What is wastewater?

Wastewater refers to any water that has been contaminated by human use. Any water that has been used in your business will likely make its way to the sewer where it is classified as wastewater. Wastewater can also be produced in the home or in agricultural settings.

Wastewater typically contains pollutants, although these can vary in severity. Wastewater needs to be treated and decontaminated before it can re-join the water supply. This is important both for the environment and public health.

Because wastewater treatment has an economic cost, water suppliers charge customers for the wastewater they produce, as well as their water usage.

Wastewater charges explained

You will be charged by water providers for the removal of wastewater from your premises. In many cases, this can be expensive. Some companies may be left wondering if they are overpaying.

Your water company will calculate the cost of water waste that you owe by taking the following into account:

  • Surface water.
  • Highways drainage.
  • Foul sewage (water from sinks and toilets)
  • Trade effluent (water contaminated with other substances, such as chemicals or oil)
  • Whether or not you have a septic tank or water treatment equipment.

The amount you pay is connected to how much water you use. If you have a water meter, this will be calculated accurately, otherwise, it will be estimated. Water companies also take into account the industry that your business is in.

Can I reduce my wastewater charges?

Yes. Just as we try to conserve energy, we should do the same with water. Although water is not a finite resource, like oil and gas, wasting water also has an environmental impact. If your business is interested in becoming greener, making an effort to save water is essential.

Reducing the amount of water your company wastes can reduce your business water bill. A great place to start is to consider a business water audit. This can provide you with a benchmark for your current water usage and identify where savings can be made.

Another excellent way to start reducing the amount of wastewater your business produces is to get your team on board. Encouraging employees to be conscious of when water is used, such as by not leaving taps on, can result in immediate savings. Putting signs up around your premises will reinforce the message and create a culture of water-saving.

Making sure that you have water-efficient appliances is another key factor. Toilets should have water-saving devices, taps and showers should have aerators. You may want to consider motion detectors on taps to reduce the risk that they will be left on.

Carrying out regular maintenance to ensure there are no leaks and that pipes and taps are properly maintained can help reduce wastewater. A dripping tap wastes on average three litres of water each day, so it is well worth addressing as soon as possible.

Minimising the amount of water that you use to water any gardens or green areas you have also improves your water efficiency. If you have space to install a rainwater butt, you can use it to gather rainwater, which can be used to water your plants rather than relying on tap water.

Switching water suppliers could reduce wastewater costs

Ensuring that you are on the best possible business water tariff can reduce your wastewater costs.

Many businesses are still unaware that they can switch business water provider. At Business Energy, our expert team can guide you through the process of switching water provider and offer the advice you need on the right tariff for you.

By switching water with us, you can even receive a free water audit if your business spends more than £1,000 per year on your water bills.

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