Ask H&H: waste hay water

  • Q: I recently read that “wastewater from haynets is now classified as effluent by the water authorities and should not be discharged down drains”. Is this correct?

    I soak my horses’ hay every day through the winter — how am I supposed to dispose of the wastewater?
    CM, Derbys

    This is a very complex issue, with some areas of confusion.

    What are the issues?

    As wastewater from soaked hay contains nitrates, some experts propose it is actually a contaminant.

    However, wastewater from haynets only comes under Defra’s nitrates regulations if disposed of on a massive, industrial scale.

    A Defra spokesman added that wastewater from haynets does not require permission for it to be discharged into the public sewer.

    “Disposal of wastewater from haynets is unlikely to cause a problem, whether discharged to either a foul or surface water sewer, and so for this to lead to action from the water companies would be uncommon,” the spokesman stated.

    Proceed with caution

    The Environment Agency (EA) referred us to Water UK, the company which represents all
    the UK’s water and wastewater service suppliers, at both national and European level.

    According to Water UK, wastewater from haynets is not classified as trade effluent by water and sewage companies, “however, Water UK would not expect facilities that generate wastewater from washing hay to discharge into water company sewers”.

    Cliff Cogger of Happy Horse Products said: “In our opinion, waste hay water should not be discharged in to any surface run-off, such as road drains, ditches and soakaways, as it contains nitrates and other contaminants. Nitrates should not be allowed to be discharged into any waterway, or water contained in any underground strata.”


    Defra www.defra.gov.uk

    Water UK www.water.org.uk

    Happy Horse Products, tel: 0845 370 3113 www.happyhorseproducts.com

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (20 November, ’08)

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