The UK government has recently changed the way it calculates surface water charges for businesses. The new system they have adopted is centred on two factors, the first is the size of the property and the second is on how much water goes into the drainage system from your business. This includes all rain water that falls on your premises and then is returned to the sewers. The utility companies charge for this because they need to maintain and dispose of rain water that falls into the sewage network.
Surface areas such as grass allow rain water to drain naturally into the ground and away from the sewers. However, hard surfaces such as car parks, footpaths and roofs will divert rain water directly to the sewers. This is where the problems begin for most businesses, because they have these hard surface areas that do not allow for natural drainage. The water companies are now basing their charges on the size of these hard areas.
The way to reduce these charges is to put less water onto the system, or to reduce the size of the hard areas. One solution is to simply reduce the size or the car park, or do away with any footpaths. For obvious reasons this may not be a workable solution for many businesses. Most car parks are there for a reason, and are usually full up with both employee and customer vehicles. Taking away a footpath can potentially cause accidents, so this to is not an ideal solution. There is a way around this problem and it relates to the substance of these hard areas. Most car parks and paths are made from asphalt which is not very good at soaking up rain water. Gravel however is very good at soaking water and sending it naturally under the ground and away from the sewers. Changing the car park to a more absorbent surface is a viable alternative that many businesses are looking to.
There are also a few porous materials that can be used for the same effect on pathways and other larger areas. Whilst the initial cost of replacing a large area may be high, the savings that can be made over the coming years make it very worthwhile indeed. Some of the savings can amount to thousands of pounds, especially if you have a large hard surface area. These are all things that UK businesses should be thinking seriously about. The time to act is now.