The idea is that a better appreciation of the law in this area, and what causes most spillages, should help to ensure that those responsible, such as site managers and plant operators carry out what is in fact their legal duty (in the UK). That is to assess risks from their liquid storage installations and reduce all such risks to their minimum which in most cases (as for anaerobic digestion plants) means providing suitable containment.
OPERATORS OF permitted facilities are responsible for complying with their environmental permit and for preventing pollution of air, land and water.
Waste management facilities have the potential to cause significant environmental harm, which could threaten water supplies, public health and wild life in the event of an environmental incident such as fire, explosion or spillage.
A facility found guilty of causing a pollution incident could face a fine of up to £50000 in the Magistrates Court.
In order to prevent environmental harm you should be aware of the following:
The source of the contaminant;
- the most common pollutant in the UK is oil
- this could be the site's surface water drainage system or via off-site surface drainage, direct run-off, foul drainage system or into the atmosphere
- ie a river, groundwater, the local population.
Potential causes of environmental incidents include:
- delivery and use of materials
- plant or equipment failure
- containment failure
- fire, explosion or failure to contain fire fighting water
- wrong connections of sewers and pipes
- discharge of partially-treated or raw effluent
- flooding of part or all of your site.
Those operating waste facilities need to assess the risk from every one of the above listed potential causes, in the context of the source (degree and nature of pollution), the pathway to the permeable ground, river, ditch or stream which would become the receptor.