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Frequently Asked Question - Does de-watering of an excavation require a permit?

Does de-watering of an excavation require a permit?

The removal of more than or equal to 20m3 /day water may require the granting of an Abstraction Licence under the Water Resources Act 1990. However, the current Environment Agency position is not to require a permit for pumping water that has gathered in an excavation if the water is to be disposed of solely to prevent interference with building operations. Any changes to this position will be publicized via the EA or DEFRA websites.

Dewatering of excavations: Where extractions have to penetrate below standing groundwater levels, dewatering will be required. A number of techniques ranging from sump pumping, to the use of external well points or deep wells can be used. Discharge of the pumped water may require a permit but the activity does not fall within the remit of the WFD.

Infiltration Drainage: Sustainable urban drainage solutions (SUDS) often call for infiltration of collected surface water to maintain surface water discharges from a developed site as closely as possible to the rates prior to development. This can occur on greenfield and brownfield sites, although we would not encourage this on contaminated sites. Discharge consents may be required but these activities do not fall within the WFD.

CL:AIRE will not be responsible for any loss, however arising, from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in the responses above, nor do they assume responsibility or liability for errors or omissions in the information provided. Readers are advised to use the information contained herein purely as a guide and to take appropriate professional advice where necessary.