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This service is for water and sewerage companies applying to discharge water into a watercourse.

You need to apply for Water Industry Act 1991 section 166 consent to discharge water:

  • that may contain solids or polluting matter
  • of drawdown release through the scour valve
  • through pipes that are larger than 229mm diameter

Before you start

You need to know:

  • if it is a single discharge or multiple discharges from one site
  • the site name and address
  • the name of the receiving watercourse
  • the discharge and sample points locations
  • reasons for discharge
  • the diameter of the discharge pipe 
  • what type of asset the discharge will come from
  • when the previous release took place (reservoirs only)
  • the type of discharge 
  • estimated volume of discharge
  • the rate of discharge
  • when you plan to carry out the discharge 
  • where the water will drain 
  • how to pay

Documents to upload

1. Site plan showing the site, drainage layout, discharge point, and monitoring point.

2. Details of how you will mitigate the risk of pollution. For example, dechlorination of water, or limiting the release of suspended solids.

3. Photos or other information to support your application.

If you are discharging from a reservoir you will also need to provide a risk assessment and management systems.



  • £796 for a single water discharges (s166a)
  • £1,298 for multiple water discharges from one site only (s166b)

We will check if your application needs a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA). If it does, we will let you know and complete the assessment for you.

We will charge an extra £649 if we complete a Habitats Regulation Assessment.

How long it takes

Single water discharges (s166a)

We will make a decision within 7 days of receiving a complete application and correct fee.

If we need to complete a HRA it will take an extra 7 days to determine the application. 

Multiple water discharges from one site only (S166b)

We will make a decision within 3 months of receiving a complete application and correct fee.

Emergency discharges

You do not need to apply for consent to carry out an emergency discharge. But you will need to notify our incident communications centre.

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