Severn Trent advises landlords on beer disposal during lockdown

Thursday 12th November

With pubs being forced to close as a result of the national lockdown, Severn Trent is encouraging its customers to get in touch before tipping large quantities of beer into the sewer system. 

During the first few months of national lockdown, the water company authorised the disposal of over 3.5 million litres of beer, which is about 6 million pints.

Severn Trent’s sewer blockages lead, Grant Mitchell, said: “Despite the news that pubs will still be able to sell takeaway pints, we know that many establishments will unfortunately need to dispose of excess beer during lockdown.

“It’s really important that any spoiled beer is disposed of correctly, as there are some risks associated with tipping large quantities into the sewer system all at once. Not only could it flood the sewer pipe network and escape into the environment, but too much alcohol can also impair the bugs that help clean our sewage, making them less effective at their job. We also need to make sure that if lots of alcohol is disposed of, all at the same time, our smaller sewage works don’t get overwhelmed and flood.

“Over the months of May and June, our trade effluent team received over 3,500 applications and were able to approve disposal for around 90 percent of these. We really feel for those that need to dispose of beer over the next few weeks and we want to remind our customers that we are here to help. All we ask is that pubs, bars and restaurants check our website for contact details and speak to us first so we can help them dispose of their beer safely and responsibly.”

Severn Trent’s current policy, in place since August 2020, is in line with Water UK advice and all Water Companies are operating similar arrangements. Any applications for the disposal of waste beer need to be made by completing a Temporary Trade effluent consent form. This form can be downloaded and once completed emailed to our support team at