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Businesses are obliged to pay for the water you use, alongside the costs of drainage and wastewater (known as effluent) from your premises.

Many companies are keen to reduce their water bills and improve their water consumption. However, wastewater can be forgotten when considering water utility costs.

In this guide, we outline the latest information on wastewater and how to minimise your wastewater charges.

What is Wastewater?

Wastewater is simply the water we use that goes down the drain. It also refers to the water that falls in areas of human habitation. All wastewater – by this point in the process known as effluent of sewage - is guided into sewers and to water treatment facilities.

Due to its interaction with human activity, wastewater has the potential to be harmful. Sewage works clean the water from pollutants and make sure it is safe for use in the future. Water is biologically treated with bacteria to make sure it can be returned to the environment without causing damage.

How is my Wastewater Bill Calculated?

Business wastewater bills are calculated differently from domestic charges if you have a water meter. Commercial properties usually pay for water and sewerage services based on the amount of water they use, and the amount of wastewater and trade effluent discarded. The exact amount is either estimated or measured.

If your business has a water meter, you pay only for the water that is calculated via the meter plus a standing charge. Your sewage costs are usually packaged within the standing charge. The amount you pay varies depending on the size of your meter and the amount of water you consume.

If your business does not have a water meter, you will be charged similarly to a domestic water customer without a meter. Your bill will be calculated with a flat rate, which estimates your water usage based on the size of your commercial property. It will also include a standing charge, which includes wastewater costs.

There are four types of collection and treatment services that water companies consider when calculating sewerage charges:

  • Foul sewage
  • Surface water drainage
  • Highway drainage
  • Trade effluent.

If your company can demonstrate you do not use these services, you may be eligible for a reduction in your wastewater charges. You should contact your water provider for more information on how to apply for an exception.

Why Does the Amount my Business Pays for Wastewater Keep Changing?

Like gas and electricity prices, the rates of water and wastewater costs vary depending on the cost of supply. Water companies also offer variable rates. If you move to a different supplier, you may find the price you pay increases or decreases accordingly.

In England and Wales, Ofwat is responsible for regulating water companies to ensure their prices are fair.

The Water Industry Commission serves the same regulatory role in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, it is Utility Regulator.

How can my Business Reduce Wastewater Costs?

Reducing water usage is a sure-fire way to reduce your company’s water bill. There are several ways to reduce the wastewater you produce that can save you money. Reducing sewage water also boosts your business’ green credentials:

  • Water-saving devices on taps and cisterns reduce the amount of water used during everyday use.
  • Toilet converters and shower timers might also be helpful for you and your staff. Again, these simple devices can improve water efficiency by 50%.
  • Keep an eye on maintenance. Dripping taps and leaks can waste hundreds of litres of water a year. Aim to address even small issues as early as possible.
  • Minimise gardening and landscaping costs by making use of rainwater storage.
  • Reduce the area that water companies use to assess surface water drainage. This is typically large tarmac spaces. Transforming any unused space into a garden or lawn is fantastic for the local environment. You can then get the area reassessed for water entering the drainage system.
  • Involve your employees in an ongoing conversation about the conservation of resources – including electricity and gas as well as water. If they are motivated to reduce wastewater, it will be far easier to change behaviour.
  • If your business is a heavy consumer of water, consider a commercial water audit. They can help to detect ongoing issues and make efficiency suggestions.

Remember to regularly check your water bills to make sure that they are accurate. If you are concerned that you are overpaying for the water your business uses, don’t forget that you can switch commercial water supplier to find a better deal.

Could Switching Water Suppliers Reduce Your Costs?

Businesses can now switch water suppliers to reduce their water costs. However, many businesses are still unaware that they’re entitled to switch.

At Business Electricity Prices, we make it easy to save on your business water costs. Our expert water team can find a water tariff to suit your business and handle the entire switching process on your behalf. You can even receive a free business water audit if you spend more than £1,000 a year on your water bills.

To find out how much you can save, simply complete our quick quote form and we’ll be in touch with the latest water prices.

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