Within the activity of large stores and shopping centres, the generation of wastewater and discharges presents a problem that, if not properly managed, can cause serious economic or image damage to the company.

Efficient management of wastewater in shopping centres reduces the cost associated with the sanitation fee (known as the K factor), but also the risks associated with fines or even warnings to close down the activity.

Factors affecting wastewater management


Regulations are undoubtedly the first factor to be considered when it comes to proper wastewater management.  These regulations affect different areas: discharges into drainage networks discharges into the Public Hydraulic Domain (DPH) and the K discharge charge.

The dumping canon, also known as the sanitation canon or K factor, is a variable tax linked to water consumption and the quality of the dumping, assessed by the manager of the supply and purification network. Correct management can reduce this tax and therefore the associated cost significantly.

Administrative skills

In this context, it is important to understand the complexity of the administrative competencies that affect this activity, and that we can differentiate between those facilities with a public sewerage network (autonomous communities, town councils, management bodies, etc.) and those which, under certain circumstances, cannot be connected to the public sewerage network. In the latter case, it is the basin organisations that are responsible for managing authorisations for dumping into the public water domain (DPH) and applying the appropriate sanctioning measures.

Activities and operations concerned

Another factor to consider is the commercial activities that affect the spill, which may include hypermarkets, gas stations, car washes, restaurants, workshops or laundries, among others. These different activities carry out different operations subject to dumping control and require analysis, maintenance and management of the waste produced.

Some of the facilities and infrastructure affected in this area are

  • Fat separators.
  • Decanters and treatment units for sanitary and production water.
  • Coalescent separators for hydrocarbon water (in petrol stations and washing).
  • Nets and manholes.
  • Meters.

How to manage wastewater properly

Once the main factors affecting wastewater management are known, and with the aim of making this management and water consumption more efficient, it is important to define and control these factors and the processes that affect them, and to integrate them into the company’s organisation.

The main aspects to be managed are:

  1. Knowledge of regulations.
  2. Knowledge of DPH infrastructures.
  3. Control of the assets and operations affected.
  4. Improvement in the processing of documentation associated with this area.
  5. Improvement of operational, preventive and reactive processes.
  6. Greater control and monitoring.
  7. Implementation of a specific information system focused on management.

Software information systems for wastewater management

Given the complexity that we see in this problem, we see how efficient management requires the implementation of a suitable system that allows to capture and manage all the relevant information to incorporate it to the maintenance processes and to obtain useful indicators for the decision making in this matter.

The implemented solution must have a document management system capable of storing all documentation related to the legalisation of discharges and elements related to water supply. These documents must be correctly parameterised and incorporate metadata that allows for their treatment in the different processes involved in management.

Based on this information, managers can establish appropriate planning for maintenance, renovation or monitoring of the different elements. The results of these operations, together with consumption measurements, will allow a series of indicators (KPIs) to be configured.

The KPIs are usually related to quality control, legalisation aspects or the K factor. Once this information has been analysed, it will lead to appropriate proposals for improvement that will optimise the management of wastewater in order to achieve the objectives proposed by the organisation.

Wastewater management with Retain

At Retain we have the knowledge, experience and technology necessary to help companies manage their wastewater in a more effective and efficient way, reducing consumption derived from the activity by optimising the K factor and ensuring compliance with the different regulations and conditions imposed in the corresponding discharge authorisations or controlling the risks derived from possible non-compliance.

If you would like more information, please contact us and an expert will contact you to inform you without any obligation.