Disposing Surplus Liquids COVID-19

Scottish Water News & Industry Insights

UPDATE 14 July 2020

With the hospitality able to fully open in Scotland from 15th July, Scottish Water’s temporary arrangements for the discharge of surplus beer and milk to sewer (outlined below) will cease on 31 August 2020.

Temporary arrangements will apply for applications received up to close of business on 14 August 2020  – and for discharges occurring  of surplus beer or milk authorised for discharge up to 31 August 2020.

After 14 August 2020 applications to discharge surplus beer and milk to sewer will be processed by Scottish Water as normal and be subject normal timescales and charges, these applications will need to go via your licensed provider.

Based on enquiries and reports from across the UK, Scottish Water is aware the temporary closure of cafés, bars and restaurants introduced under measures to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic could lead to a reduction in demand for milk and beer at such premises. The consequences of this may be raw milk remaining uncollected from farms or unprocessed at dairies, meaning it may require to be disposed of and kegged beer becoming spoiled, meaning it may require to be destroyed.

Milk and beer must not be discharged into a drain or sewer without first obtaining permission from Scottish Water. Milk and beer can harm the biological treatment processes at our wastewater treatment works or have a serious impact on the ecology of watercourses if discharged into a surface water drainage system.

Scottish Water recommends customers seek sustainable ways to dispose of or reuse surplus waste milk or beer, following guidance from the appropriate authorities such as SEPA and HMRC and only considers a discharge to the public sewer as a last resort.

If discharge to the public sewer is the only option available

Scottish Water have created a shortened Trade Effluent application form specifically for COVID-19 related liquid disposal. This is available from the Scottish Water Trade Effluent team by emailing [email protected], or can be downloaded from our website here (as an .xlsx) or here (as a .pdf).

Scottish Water will give consent/authorisation only where sufficient capacity exists to accommodate the discharge within our infrastructure and where the discharge will not cause harm. Discharges must be made to the foul/combined sewer and the customer must comply with any conditions Scottish Water imposes; this is a legal requirement under the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968.

Scottish Water may refuse to grant consent where we deem a proposed discharge sewer poses a risk and may recover from the Customer any expenses that it reasonably incurs due to a discharge being made without authorisation or contrary to the conditions imposed.Please be aware that the Trade Effluent Notice is a legal document and must be signed by the applicant.

Once your application is completed please send a copy to the Scottish Water Trade Effluent team at [email protected]. Please be aware that the Trade Effluent Notice is a legal document and must be signed by the applicant.

Further information on Scottish Water’s position on disposal of surplus waste milk or beer can be found from their website here (pdf). A copy is also available for download from this website here (pdf).


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