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Everything you need to know about Spill Kits and the role they should play in water pollution prevention in less than six and a half minutes. If you prefer to read the transcript is below.

What are Spill Kits and how should they be used in Water Pollution Prevention

Transcription Details:

Date: November 20, 2019
Input sound file: https://youtu.be/uZiUgCtlLzo

What is a spill kit?

Speaker 1 [00:00:06]: Hi, my name is David Cole, and I’m technical director of Sandfield Penstock Solutions, and I’m going to talk today about Spill Kits.

What is a spill kit?

Speaker 1 [00:00:18]: Right, a spill kit is what it says. It’s there as a kit that you could use when you have a spill, as simple as that, and that’s what they use for for clearing up a spill. You’ve got a bit of equipment; you’ve got it there. You have a spill: you spill some oil; you spill some liquids or chemicals, and you’ve got the appropriate spill kit hopefully for that particular chemical to clear it up and take it away. Normally, it’s got to be disposed of as a piece of disposable waste as a house waste material once you’ve locked it up.

What should a spill kit include?

Speaker 1 [00:00:49]: So, spill kits are coming on all sorts of varieties. They’re certain things for like grab bags. You can get one’s a huge wheelie bins and you can just get a simple little, little, tiny, little desktop kit. What you’ll find in that kit normally or should be is something that’s appropriate for the particular tasks that you’re doing. So, if you’re in an engineering company, you might have oils, you might have coolant, so you’ve got a specific tool kit or spill kit used for clearing up that type of spill. If you’re, say, a business and you use a lot of liquid waste or a lot of waters and probably orange juice inside, you have a different type of spill kit. So, it’s important that the materials that you’re using in that spill kit are appropriate for the type of chemical that you’re potentially going to spill.

What is the purpose of a spill kit?

Speaker 1 [00:01:33]: Okay, well, the function of a spill kit is what it says in, in the words–it’s there. If something happens, something gets spilt, so a small little spill, if you’re able to contain it within a certain specific area, mop it up, clear it up and safely remove it because sometimes that spill could be quite hazardous, so you need to have enough kit, the proper PPE, the gloves, the goggles, and then a proper process of actually clear up, too, not putting it into a disposable container or bag which is clearly marked to say that is hazardous waste or whatever the material is inside it, so it can be dealt with in a, in a, in a clean environment manner.

What is the problem with spill kits?

Speaker 1 [00:02:14]: Okay, so when we say what is the problem, there isn’t necessarily a problem if a spill kit is used for what it was designed for, which is a small spill. The problem I have or I personally have with this type of, of, of equipment is spill kits are being used for catastrophic events–large incidents, things that might happen where you’ve got thousands of liters of liquid–and all of a sudden we’re saying, well, we’re going to pull out some socks, these, these booms from our skill kit, which we’re going to put down, and we’re going to put down drain covers. We’re going to cover things over to try and control the flow, which when you look at it, just as an exercise, it seems okay. But if that chemical spill really is flowing and you need to react quickly, with a spill kit, are you selecting the right material? Are you putting on the right PPE? Are you and the operator is going to use that spill kit? Are you protected when you’re actually implementing a drain cover putting on the socks round? Because a spill on a nice flat surface where it’s just contained a small area and you’re dropping the spill kit on to clean up is fine. Proceed that becomes something quite large where we’ve got a large volume that’s flowing and moving potentially hazardous and hazardous to your health.

Speaker 1 [00:03:22]: Using a manually operated spill kit becomes, it’s a mean almost difficult, pointless and very, very complicated and high risk. So, really a spill kit is a manually operated piece of kit. I can’t really think of anything else that it can be. What you have is if you had a spill, you open the spill kit up; you take out the materials that you need; you decide; you look at what you’ve got; you decide what you need, and you use it to cover the spill.

Does having spill kits mean that you are protected against a pollution event?

Speaker 1 [00:03:53]: Well, so many sites that I visited over the years, over the last 20 years, your tournament site, and yes were fully protected. We don’t need advice on fire, water containment or pollution containment, because we’ve got controls. What are your controls? It’s a spill kit, sat over there in the corner, nicely placed for the spill kit, marked around it. That’s our system. How would that system would work? I don’t understand if there was a catastrophic event or a fire, or how does that kid get from there to another side of the building where there isn’t a spill kit where you haven’t placed it? Often, what you look with a spill kit, it’s there for a small spill. It doesn’t work for mass control of a major event. It’s just the wrong type of product.

Speaker 1 [00:04:36]: So, one of the things with spill kits, I’ve mentioned this already in my little talk here, but spill kits are a reactive product. They’re not proactive – they’re reactive. So, you could in a way, say, well, we’re going to be doing some hazardous work today, so we will put out loads of spill products and we’ll put them around, which is quite expensive because in theory, when you’re doing something, you’re not expecting an incident to happen. If you think an incident is going to happen, probably the operation that you’re doing maybe needs to be somewhere else. You shouldn’t be doing it and exposing your area. So, what they are really is they are purely and they must be seen as a reactive piece of kit for small maintenance spills, accidents that might happen that you can just mop up with a small piece of equipment, and not really the best piece of equipment to manually react and get out of a bag and start putting out when you’re actually in potentially a crisis situation.

What advice do you have for anyone thinking about spill kits and water pollution prevention?

Speaker 1 [00:05:34]: Well, if I’m considering a spill kit, I’d like you to think you still follow a nice simple six-point checklist. The first one is look at regulation. Step two is understand how that particular regulation fits in with you, especially does a spill kit really meet the regulations that you’re trying to meet? Carry out some risk assessment for your site, design, your containment policy, implement that design that you’ve thought about and you’ve designed, implement that idea.  Step six is to monitor, maintain, and then document what you’re doing and as time goes by, change how you’re doing things. So, you can get in touch with me by just calling me or visiting our website www.penstocksolutions.co.uk. Thanks for listening.

David Cole MSEE

David Cole MSEE

Technical Director

David is a pioneer of the spill containment and water pollution prevention industry with 30 years experience. He was instrumental in the development of CIRIA736 with The Environment Agency and is passionate about preventing water pollution.

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