Research and analysis

The fate of radioactivity in sewers

Leaflet to reassess the fate of radioactive discharges of low-level radioactive waste to sewers.


The Fate of Radioactivity in Sewers

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


The Environment Agencies authorise and monitor the disposal of low-level radioactive waste to sewers. Such discharges originate from non-nuclear sites such as hospitals, universities and research centres. Discharges are strictly controlled through authorisations, which place conditions and limits on the disposer. We commissioned the work summarised within this leaflet to reassess the fate of these radioactive discharges and to ensure that this practice remains acceptable and is still the best option for disposal. In all cases the study found assessed radiation doses (associated with these discharges) to be a small fraction of the public dose limit. The Environment Agencies conclude from this study that the disposal of radioactive waste to sewers remains the best option available to ensure the safety of the public (including sewer workers) and to protect the environment.

Published 1 January 2000