There are many ways in which businesses can cause water pollution, and the number of incidents, whilst exhibiting an overall trend of decline, is still a cause for concern.

Virtually all businesses have the potential to cause water pollution. This is principally because whilst water itself may not always be visible, a pathway will normally exist to transport polluting substances from a business premises to a water body.

Managing compliance with water pollution can broadly be split up by the three main water receptors; the foul sewerage system, the surface water system and groundwater. Each receptor is, in different ways, very susceptible to sources of pollution.

As an overarching rule, no substances except clean uncontaminated water should be discharged to any water receptor without prior discussion and approval with the appropriate regulatory authority. Discharges to foul sewer are regulated by the local sewerage company, while discharges to surface waters and groundwater are regulated by the Environment Agency.

Specific legislation exists to either prohibit or control the admittance of polluting materials to each receptor and, as such, the most important first step in site water management is understanding the type of drainage system present on your site. If existing drainage plans and historical records are inadequate, specialist firms can be engaged to carry out drainage surveys and prepare up to date plans on your behalf.