HGV hit: EA issues WwTW RPS on discharging effluent without permit compliance

Management & Regulation, Processed Water, Waste & Resources

The Environment Agency has issued a regulatory position statement (RPS) enabling water and sewerage companies to discharge effluent without meeting the conditions outlined in their permit, as supply chain issues hit the delivery of wastewater treatment chemicals.

As well as unavoidable supply chain failures the RPS states that the above may also be impacted by:

  • the UK’s new relationship with the EU
  • coronavirus (COVID-19)

This RPS only applies to water and sewerage company discharges from wasterwater treatment works that cannot comply with permit conditions because of a shortage of chemicals. A written agreement from the revelant EA water company account manager is required before the use of this RPS.

Water and sewarage companies must also demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with their permit, before using the RPS. This includes:

  • contingency planning to avoid or minimise disruption to your business
  • response planning to minimise the impact and duration of not complying with your permit

The RPS is currently in place until 31 December 2021.

Responding to the Defra time-limited RPS a spokesperson for Water UK, said:

“We are currently experiencing some disruption to the supply in England of ferric sulphate, a chemical used at some drinking and wastewater treatment sites.

“This will not affect the supply of drinking water. As a precaution, however, we are monitoring the situation due to the use of ferric sulphate in some waste treatment works. We are working closely with government and our chemical suppliers to ensure disruption is minimised.

This issue has arisen due to a shortage of HGV drivers in the UK. There is no shortage of ferric sulphate in factories; the issue is solely one of distribution.”   

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