95  Effluent treatments

Most towns have two drainage systems. One is designed to collect clean rainwater and convey it to ditches or watercourses, the other is the foul sewer to which toilet and sink waste are connected. The foul sewer carries dirty water (including industrial effluents which can only pass to the sewer with the consent of the water company) to treatment works where it is biodegraded before returning to a river. The sewers this passes along are a complex system of pipes and pumping stations which can become blocked when plastics, fats or solid material are put down the drain. Once blocked, the drain backs up, there is often overflow and pollution and those people who are the occupiers of premises which benefit from the sections of pipework affected must pay the bill. (This can come as quite a surprise to them). The message concerning plastic sanitary items is - either don’t use them or ‘Bag it and Bin it’ - the wastes end up in landfill but this minimises the adverse effects on the sewerage system and makes easier the processing of sewage sludge which is often recycled as fertiliser.

Wastes like vehicle washings with their loads of detergent, oil and heavy metals must be directed to the foul sewer and not swept into the clean rainwater systems, causing harm to wildlife. It helps a great deal if people label their drainage covers - a dab of paint can easily show the foul sewer connection.

Some useful information on water and pollution can be found at the Environmental Information Exchange, www.brookes.ac.uk/eie/qwaterpoll.htm 

Water Conservation Tip:
Sometimes effluent can be re-used. See if treating waste water would render it suitable for use in particular processes.

Also see
Organics (10)
Used vegetable oils and fats
Difficult wastes
Mineral oils, chemicals, solvents
Nappies and personal products
Contaminated land remediation (92)
Water supplies

Alphabetical list of organisations

A & A Weatherhead Effluent Services
Tel 01296 696488
Lower Little London Farm, Little London, WENDOVER, Bucks HP22 6QQ

Industrial effluent and toxic waste disposal, septic tank and cesspool emptying service. Covers Bucks, Oxon, Beds and London areas.

Alpheus Environmental Ltd
Tel 01234 686100  Fax 01234 686186  Email info@alpheus.co.uk   Website www.alpheus.co.uk 
49a Bromham Road, Bedford, MK40 2AA  Contact Lucy Roper, Marketing Co-ordinator

Designs, operates and maintains commercial and industrial UK water and wastewater treatment plants, at Milton Keynes, Norwich, Lincoln and Basildon.  Modifies or replaces complete systems, and installs new plants of all sizes for a variety of effluent streams and loads. 24hr emergency callout.  Key skills include risk management, liquid waste disposal, membrane technology, legionella risk assessment, monitoring, consultancy and troubleshooting. Developing several new technologies in house and through parent company, awg plc (previously Anglian Water). Contracts usually long term (3-15 years), co-operating with clients and partners to delivery.  ISO9002 registered; working towards ISO14001. Committed to employees (110) - team culture uses personal development plans and skills gap analysis. Formed 1991. Website includes company profile, mission statement, skills, health and safety information, list of household name customers.  (Updated Sep 2001)

Anglian Water International

Tel 01480 323000 Fax 01480 323115
Anglian House, Ambury Road, HUNTINGDON, Cambs PE18 6NZ

Subsidiary of awg plc (Anglian Water Group). Provides expertise in water and sewage process engineering on an international and domestic basis


Tel 01889 583811 Fax 01889 584998
Colton Road, RUGELEY, Staffs WS15 3HF

Design and construction of reedbed and other biological effluent treatment systems including site surveys, effluent analysis and pilot trials.

Barr & Wray Ltd

Tel 01403 733542 Fax 01403 734948
PO Box 164, HORSHAM, West Sussex RH13 7YJ

'Triogen' low and medium pressure UV systems for treatment of: potable and ultra high purity water; rinse and wash waters; ozone removal; process water for food, soft drinks, brewing and distilling industries; effluent streams; advanced oxidation in conjunction with ozone.

BHA Cromwell House

Tel 0208 647 1686 Fax 0208 773 3110
78 Manor Road, WALLINGFORD, Surrey SM6 8RZ

Design and project management of water and waste treatment. Experience includes sewage, petrochemicals, dyestuffs and paper processes.

Biffa Waste Services
Tel 0121 502 5500
Wednesbury Waste Management Centre, Potters Lane, WEDNESBURY, West Mids WS10 7NR
E-Mail marketing@biffa.co.uk Website www.biffa.co.uk

Treatment of inorganic and organic aqueous wastes.

Biotank Ltd

Freefone 0800 0851660
   Tel 01277 898000   Fax 01277 899001
Email enquiries@biotank.co.uk   Website www.biotank.co.uk 
Radar House
, Willingale Road, Fyfield, ONGAR, Essex CM5 0SD
Contact  Chris White

Manufacturer of patented sewage digestion treatment designed with environment in mind, and superior to septic tanks, which can be unreliable and clog up.  Uses natural bacteria to digest waste in 2 stages: Anaerobic (without air) then Aerobic Digestion (with oxygen), which removes ammonia and produces carbon dioxide and new bacteria or biomass.  This is recycled within the tank to ensure a constant supply of active bacteria to digest the sewage.  Insulated to use heat even in winter and keep the bacteria working.  Does not require emptying.  Domestic sewage enters one side of the Biotank, is broken down, and 'treated effluent' comes out the other within 36 hours in the form of clean water, suitable for discharging to a watercourse.  Exceeds Royal Commission standards.  By-products: carbon dioxide, methane.  By adding an ultra-violet filter, the water is pure enough to drink. Ideal for properties not connected to mains sewage.  Running costs: as one 100W light bulb running constantly to power a compressor (should last well over 10 years) to provide air, keeping the aerobic bacteria alive.  A septic tank needs de-sludging once or twice a year; the Biotank once in 3 years - no maintenance agreement needed.  Cost from £3000 excluding installation.  Invented by David Burt.   (Updated Jan 2005)

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)

Tel 01654 705950  Fax 01654 702782  Mail order tel 01654 705959  Mail order fax 01654 705999  Shop 01654 705993
Website www.cat.org.uk  Email  (various - see website)

It is an enjoyable and educational experience to visit this seven-acre permanent exhibition of sustainable technology with residential community set in a  reclaimed slate quarry, now a wildlife haven.  Activities powered mainly by water, wind and sun.  Demonstrations of various composting systems.  Offers consultancy on practical renewable energy solutions.  Runs training courses such as renewable energy systems, self-build houses, organic growing and biological waste treatments including composting and reed bed sewerage systems.   Welcomes British and foreign stamps (still on the paper) - send to Barbara Wallace at CAT.  These are sorted then sold to dealers or collectors.  Money raised fund CATís environmental volunteer service.  New displays on Energy, Recycling, the Home and Work planned for 2005, and construction begins, open to the public, of new educational establishment, " the greenest building project in the UK".  Water-balanced cliff railway opens for the season on 14 March.  Demonstrations on 9 June 2005 of spinning and weaving techniques using recycled rags.  Produces many  informative newssheets, publications, and quarterly magazine Clean Slate, email cleanslate@cat.org.uk Visitor centre open every day. Gift shop near the entrance stocks many interesting goods and books - also mail order catalogue.  Cafe serves delicious organic and fair trade food on premises.  Runs membership organisation, ATA (Alternative Technology Association).  Subsidiary in Machynlleth: Quarry shop wholefoods 01654 702339 and cafe 01654 702624.   (Updated Dec 2004)

Chartered Institution of Water
& Environmental Management
Tel 0207 831 3110 Fax 0207 405 4967
15 John Street, LONDON WC1 2EB

Professional body for advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management. Bi-monthly journal, yearbook and various publications available.

Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA)
Tel 0207 549 3300  Fax 0207 253 0523
Website www.ciria.org   Email enquiries@ciria.org
Classic House, 174-180 Old Street, LONDON EC1V 9BP

Broker of construction research and innovation.  Various publications and events relating to water supply and sustainability, sewerage, flooding and drainage, control of water pollution from construction sites, coastal and marine environmental site guide.  With BRE and BSRIA, oversees the Construction Industry Environment Forum, providing information exchange on environmental issues affecting the industry.  Developing Green Guide for professional tradespeople and small businesses to reduce the building industry's environmental impact.  CIRIA aims to improve performance of all in water industries - runs workshops and seminars; literature encourages best practice.  Several subsidiary websites include SUDS and flooding.  (Updated July 2004)

Cranfield University

Tel 01234 754056 Direct Line (24 hr ansaphone) Fax 01234 751671 E-mail c.temple@cranfield.ac.uk
Cranfield Water - Cranfield University, Clive Temple, Marketing Manager, Cranfield, BEDFORD MK43 0AL

'Cranfield Water' is the University's umbrella organisation, serving as a link between Cranfield University and the international water and environment sector.  It offers an integrated approach, providing training and research services. Specialist areas include: water and effluent treatment, water recycling and reuse, soil and water engineering, irrigation management, water environment management, energy management.

Elemental Solutions

Tel 01594 516063 Fax 01594 516821
Oaklands Park, NEWNHAM, Glos GL14 1EF

Consultancy, design and commissioning of aquatic plant treatment systems for domestic and industrial effluents and liquors. Expertise also in roofwater collection, waste minimisation, dry and low water use toilets.

Entec (Pollution Control) Ltd

Tel 01264 357666 Fax 01264 364446
West Portway, ANDOVER, Hampshire SP10 3LF

Provide septic tanks, cesspools, sewage treatment plants (for populations of 6-150), petrol/oil separators and a wide range of pumps, tanks and grease traps.

Esmil Process Systems

Tel 01494 526155 Fax 01494 474515
Westfields, London Road, HIGH WYCOMBE, Bucks HP11 1HA

Membrane technology treatment for optimum product recovery from difficult effluent streams.

Expertise Ltd
Tel  01629 826482  Fax 01629 826482  Mobile 07940 548050
Email Sean.Moran@expertise-limited.co.uk  
Website www.expertise-limited.co.uk

Design of pure and potable water, groundwater and sewage, effluent and sludge treatment plant.  Consultancy on process and hydraulic design.  Seven years experience with major contracting organisations.  ISO 9000 series auditor and quality manual author.  Envirowise panel member, selected by government under the Envirowise Programme to offer advice and training services to small and medium enterprises on health, safety and environmental auditing and waste minimisation, including breakdown of raw materials,  packaging, waste, recovery and recycling opportunities and potential savings.  This includes reviewing water use and toilets, energy, heating, lighting and fuel, computing, refrigeration, compressors, and emissions.  Also expert witness service, and technical and legal translations French-English and vice versa.  (Updated July 2004)


Tel 01235 435639 Fax 01235 432313
AEA Technology plc, 404 Harwell, DIDCOT, Oxon OX11 0RA

Industrial and municipal waste water treatment legislation and technology. Knowledge base for use in process and plant selection, specification, design, costing, operation and troubleshooting.

IBS Viridian

Tel 01227 770505 Fax 01227 770123
114-116 John Wilson Business Park, Thanet Way, Whitstable, Kent

Waste treatment systems specialising in biological treatment of effluents, contaminated land and groundwater, liquid and atmospheric emissions and odour treeatment. Capability from consultancy to construction including site surveys; laboratory trials, process specificaiton and plant installation. Biotreatment of municipal and waste water effluents with custom blends of microorganisms for optimal treatment. Industries served include construction, chemical, petrochemical, metal processing, textile, agriculture and agrochemical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and food and drink.

Johnston & Mather

Tel 0208 878 6663 Fax 0208 878 9229
Essex Lodge, Barnes High Street, LONDON SW13 0LW

Consultant in biological treatment of effluents using reed beds.

OFWAT (Office of Water Services)

Website www.ofwat.gov.uk  Email
Tel 0121 625 1300 / 1373  Fax 0121 625 1400
Centre City Tower, 7 Hill Street, BIRMINGHAM, West Mids B5 4UA
Contacts listed on website

Responsible for monitoring activities of companies appointed as water and sewerage undertakers, including charges and standards for services; encouraging economy and efficiency in the supply industry; adjudicating in certain disputes between companies and their customers.  Vision: a water industry that delivers a world-class service, representing best value to customers now and in the future.  Mission:  to regulate in a way that provides incentives and encourages the companies to achieve a world-class service in terms of quality and value for customers in England and Wales.  Website incorporates WaterVoice - aim: to be an effective and influential voice for water and sewerage customers in England and Wales, promoting their interests in respect of price, service and value for money.  Email enquiries@watervoice.org.uk   Phone and contact details for 10 regions on website.   For monitoring of water resources and flooding see Environment Agency(Updated May 2005)


Tel 01202 625656
44 Holton Road, Holton Heath, POOLE, Dorset BH16 6LT

Industrial waste water treatment and sewage purification; plant design, fabrication, building, installation, commissioning and upgrading; potable water treatment, pilot studies and site investigation; performance monitoring.


Tel 01905 771117 Fax 01905 772270
44 Friars Street, DROITWICH, Worcs WR9 8ED

UV disinfection system for sewage effluent and low pressure technology for process/waste water and drinking water. Low and medium pressure technology available.

Surfers Against Sewage
Tel 0845 4583001
Website www.sas.org.uk  
Wheal Kitty Workshops, ST AGNES, Cornwall TR5 0RD 

Campaigns for clean, safe recreational waters, free from sewage effluents, toxic chemicals and nuclear waste.  Argues for viable and sustainable alternatives, and highlights inherent flaws in current practices, attitudes and legislation, challenging industry, legislators and politicians to end 'pump and dump' policies.  Concerned that the aquatic environment has traditionally been viewed as a bottomless pit for waste: the drains, bleach, chemicals from domestic products, paint and solvents, oils and fats and everything flushed down the loo will end up in the sewerage system, which are not designed to remove chemicals from sewage.  Some are persistent and tend to bioaccumulate, remaining in the environment indefinitely, either in the water or in the flesh and fat of organisms. Some disrupt hormones.   SAS focus on the 300 million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage discharged around the UK coastline each day, and the 2 million tonnes of toxic waste dumped into the sea every year.  Produces Marine Environment Project schools pack; and papers on problems and solutions, and best and worst water companies.  Maintains medical database of (medically verified) illnesses reported by the public, ranging in their severity.  Over 880 cases, 76% following visits to beaches complying with minimum standards in the 1976 Bathing Water Directive.  Other waste problems highlighted: 4% of all items found in Beachwatch 2001 were the multi-coloured plastic sticks left behind when fluffy bits fall off cotton buds. They call for people to 'Bag It and Bin It, Please Don't Flush It'.  '(Updated Feb 2005)

Techniflo Services Ltd

Tel 01376 562888 Fax 01376 561484
Unit 29, Priors Way, Coggeshall Industrial Park, COLCHESTER, Essex CO6 1TW

Industrial and commercial water processing plant and control systems. Filtration, ion exchange and reverse osmosis. Specialist in food, beverage, medical and laundry industries.

Water Scientific Ltd

Tel 0118 945 3078 Fax 0118 942 8897
56 Hildens Drive, READING, Berks RG30 4LP

Small consultancy in water supply and waste water treatment.