Results from two surveys in S.E. England are used to illustrate and quantify the inherent uncertainty in the quantity and quality of domestic wastewater at the fundamental level of discharges from domestic appliances. The uncertainties in three principal areas are elucidated. Volumetric discharges are shown to vary significantly for several appliances particularly when used in “running to waste” mode. Pollutant load also varies and information is presented for a number of different appliance-pollutant combinations. The frequency of use is known to vary throughout the day, but figures are presented to quantify the extent of the spread of the data during each hour of the day. A means of integrating the various elements of uncertainty is proposed. Quantification should enable better control of treatment plants and improve forecasting of the influence of combined sewer overflows on receiving waters, hence enhancing the management of the associated risk.

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