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Everything you need to know about Effluent Treatment Plants and how they impact water pollution preventio  in under seven and a half minutes. If you prefer to read the transcript is below.

What is an Effluent Treatment Plant and how do Effluent Treatment Plants impact water pollution prevention? Transcription Details:

Date: October 8, 2019
Input sound file: https://youtu.be/JEDnTwL376U

Hello, my name is David Cole and I’m Technical Director for Sandfield Penstock Solutions, and today I’m going to talk about Effluent Treatment  Plants or an ETP.

What is an Effluent Treatment  Plant?

So an Effluent Treatment  plant is where a large industry or an industry that’s producing a lot of effluent waste that they might use it to balance their effluents. So they’ve got more controlled substances that they can discharge potentially straight back into the river, in the watercourse, or to the Effluent Treatment   process through a water company’s drainage. But by reducing that, they reduce their waste, so they reduce the treatment that’s got to be done by others and reduce their costs.

What is an effluent waste?

So effluent waste comes really from the process. So it’s not, we’re not really talking about it for industry, and our assets is toilet waste, and handwashing and, and toilet waste. We’re looking here really is what’s used? Why do you use water and liquids within the processing? You might see them at a brewery. You definitely see them at probably a milk producing business. Anybody really that’s producing and using a lot of materials might have an Effluent Treatment  plant.

How do Effluent Treatment  plants impact water pollution prevention?

So what you’ve normally got with Effluent Treatment  plants is you’ve only got bulk storage. It’s a is a bulk storage of either of chemicals that’s used to obviously balance their Effluent Treatment  plants. You’ve got different processes involved, and you’ve normally got quite, quite a large capacity of actually storage of raw effluent before it’s processed, and then after it’s processed, so you can have large bulk volumes of material. If that was lost, instead of it just being a small magnitude of material that was lost, and it goes down the sewer, it actually potentially could infringe on the surface water drainage network, which means you could certainly release a huge, you know, 18-30 cubes of some sort of toxic chemical that’s held within these tankers. So the impact is, is that if you’re holding that sort of material, you’ve got to have a design then around it, that means the tertiary containment system that if it did fail, it’s not going to end up in the rivers or in the streams or in the ocean.

What does an Effluent Treatment plant look like?

Well, an Effluent Treatment  plant really, you could look at it really, you’ve got normally a below ground potentially discharge point where it goes across a little knife gate you’re aware, which allows it back into the, to the waterways or into a sewage treatment farm, or, and then you only have bulk storage, so the material comes into a balancing tank which is sat there that there may be posted. It could be a huge reservoir that’s actually holding dirty water waiting while there’s a bit of anaerobic digestion. There’s all sorts of different processes that can go involved; they can be putting different chemicals into it to balance it. But basically, what you’re doing is you’re taking a dirty process, and you’re bringing it down to a balanced process, so you can release it into the environment, which is obviously very relatively clean water. So it’s basically down to the sort of levels of rain water, or back to a sewage treatment farm, but a much lower level. So it’s not, it’s not a how to balance, it’s a pretty constant discharge.

What are the risks associated with managing an Effluent Treatment  plant?

So once you put an Effluent Treatment  plant, you may have had permit changes, because obviously, you’ve now got much more bulk storage that you probably didn’t have before. Before your process of having an Effluent Treatment  plant, you might have just been discharging to the water company every day, specific way. You might have had some small or smaller bulk storage. But by putting an Effluent Treatment  plant to you probably now having a much bigger bulk storage of material anyone time. So we got to look at is if that equipment did fail, pump fails, can you control it and keep it on site?

What special considerations are there in managing an Effluent Treatment  plant?

So this is quite a new area where experiences as a business is a question that’s been asked by customers that are buying or installing or running Effluent Treatment  plants. What they’re finding is the regulator. The environment agencies turning up and saying, “Can you address CIRIA c736? You’ve got all this bulk storage of chemicals. What happens if you have a catastrophic failure equipment? Can you contain it on site and not cause a pollution release?”And that’s actually been one area that we found new. And we found quite, quite an interesting area for us to get involved in. And we’ve been asked continuously. The question is, we have this huge amount of stored chemicals and ethical waste. If we have a failure, the regulators are saying, “Where’s it go?” And immediately we know that if it was lost and it was a catastrophic failure, it would actually enter the surface water drainage network straightaway just as a material gone. So we’ve been asked now and our customers have been asked to actually implement a system, so that if they did have a release, like a tanker fail or a bulk delivery host fail, they can actually stop it and hold it where it is, and it’s not actually going into the surface water network.

How have we been involved with managing Effluent Treatment  projects?

So I have to say in recent times, we’ve had phone calls from sites that are implementing a new Effluent Treatment  plant, which is created the requirement for changes to their environmental permits, which is brought the regulator on site. The regulator’s question is “Right. How have you addressed with this new piece of equipment, CIRIA c736, and your water pollution container? What’s your bone going to look like?” And they can be looking at quite a large vessel and saying, “Well, you’ve got 80 cubes and the material. We need to say 110% bonding around that particular vessel,” which can in itself cause problem because some of these Effluent Treatment  plants, some of these sites are quite restrictive in space. So to actually put a bond around a tanker that you’ve already built, or you’ve got in place you’re looking at is actually probably very restrictive. Almost probably some sites we’ve been to is actually impossible. There isn’t room, which means what you do, when you do not have enough Effluent Treatment  plant, though your production needs it but you can’t actually put in the water pollution containment expert, containment system to actually hold it.

So what we look at it then and it’s using our, obviously our techniques to look at the CIRIA guidance, looking at the tertiary area, looking at how you control it using containment valves of the surface water network. So these sites and our looking at this, and this is an area that we have to get involved with on a much more daily basis.

What is your recommendation for anyone implementing or managing Effluent Treatment Plants?

So I think if I was looking at putting in a new Effluent Treatment  plant, which means potentially you’re going to be changing your permits, which means what we know the environment is going to get involved because I’ve been looking at what you’re doing. And that probably we’re going to guide you and say we need to look at your containment. We’d be saying you want to use our six point technique, which is one regulation. Then you want to look at how does regulation implement to your particular site? What is the risk assessment? What is your risk and the potential of harm to your site from a pollution event? They need to design that system, so you understand what it’s going to look like. Then you need to build it and you need to implement it and put it in place. Then you need to monitor, maintain, and document the system that you’ve put in place. And when guidance changes, you need to be able to move your system along with changes to guidance.

If you need any further information, just contact us or visit our website, www.penstocksolutions.co.uk.

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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