What is Environmental Advice?
|December 18, 2019
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What is Environmental Advice?
Hello, my name is David Cole, and I’m technical director of Sandfield Penstock Solutions, and today I’m going to talk to you about environmental advice.
What is Environmental Advice?
Well, environmental advice could be anything really, such a broad spectrum of a subject. But specifically, environmental advice is somebody or a consultant or somebody who understands me giving you some information specific to your business in the question, specifically around environmental. We’re looking really at air or water pollution when you’re looking at environmental advice.
What environmental advice do we offer?
So, as a business, we focus on water pollution. So, we’re looking at the environmental impact that your business has. If you have a catastrophic failure or something goes wrong, how are you going to impact the water? How you’re going to impact the environment around you. It can lead to ground because obviously contamination of the drainage network can lead into socket and drainage. But mainly, we switch on a focus on water pollution.
Why would a business need environmental advice?
Well, I suppose one of the things is, is that we all need advice from time to time and sometimes getting advice from a different sort of perspective can help. And I think we should all be open to sort of certain bits of information to give us advice on everything that we do. So, if you’re a business that’s actually in manufacturing, if you’ve been approached, particularly by the regulator, the Environment Agency, or your local regulator, or local council about what happens in fire or water containment? What happens about pollution containment? What have you got in place as your emergency management system, your plan? Then really, hopefully, we’re the people to come and talk to, because we can help you with that environmental management system. And we can help you give you some advice on how we would use the CIRIA guidance because we’ve been heavily involved with it, how we would implement that to give you a water pollution containment scheme.
How does the environmental advice we offer support businesses?
Situation we’ve been involved with recently is where we’ve had a number of clients that have come to us around. They’ve got a permit change, they’re putting in some new equipment and the Environment Agency have turned up and asked them to build a bond around their facility. What we’ve done in that advice is we’ve taken look at the site, we’ve said, okay, right, what you’re looking at is quite a huge expense. And it’s actually stopping that work taking place because it’s becoming unaffordable. It’s nobody, it’s not viable.
So, what we’ve got involved with, we’ve actually then looked at the risk, we’ve looked at the environmental risk to that business if I had a failure, and then we come across with no design. We actually give them the same controls and containment, in fact, better controls and containment. Because normally what happens is when people put bonds around facilities is that only bonding and protecting the facility. But most of our activity, either delivery vehicles and things that happen actually take place outside of that facility, which isn’t protected by the bond. For instance, in one of our recent scientists that they will build an effluent treatment plant. They were told by the environmental agency that they needed to put 110% bonding all the way around it. As you can imagine how to get tankers and in, into that facility to get rid of the slurry, don’t know, they have to then sit the tanker on the outside to take the slurry away, which in itself creates a huge environmental risk.
If there was a fire on that facility, the firefighting is going to take place in the outside of that bonded area as well. So, what we looked at is our, our philosophy is to look at that environmental risk and say, right, let’s not just look at in isolation. Let’s look at the whole risk. If you had a catastrophic disaster, can we contain your pollution event here on the site, using what we’ve got putting in some designs on the tertiary? And that’s what we do.
How does the environmental advice we offer mitigate the risk of compliance failure?
Well, there’s a number of sites that we’ve worked with over the years. I’m actually designing a pollution containment system and putting a scheme in place, so that some of the larger ones are obviously major projects, but also, it’s an awareness of actually what is the risk that they’re probably not even aware of, whether we’ve actually designed a specific system. One was many years ago, I’ve worked with which actually one of the ones that set me on this sort of journey was at the Hellfire and approached them the previous year to offer them some advice and some of my ideas, which have been rejected at that time.
After the fire, what they had to do, what they requested by the regulator was to actually evidence that they could contain any event in the future with a fire or water runoff and everything that was involved with that, and the rain storm event that will be added to it. And that’s where we got involved in the design of their new plant because we actually took that, we actually looked at it, we actually produced them in a spill animation model to show them what was wrong. We actually gave them the two volumes. Once they have the two volumes, they knew where the valves needed to be, where the drainage needed to be isolated with toggle block valves. That was done. We knew that that system would work. We tested it. It was watertight, and then we built above ground tertiary which gave them the perfect example, which actually protected that business, I think from previously, so that is they couldn’t get their permits to operate without some evidence.
How does our advice help if the environment agency turn up on site?
Okay, so as a business, we were heavily involved or I was personally and heavily involved in the CIRIA 736 guidance, which is all about understanding tertiary containment and how you actually control water pollution. That’s where we can help. It’s that if you’re being asked the question, how do you control runoff from your site? How do you implement CIRIA c736’s site? I’d like to think that we’re probably some of the biggest experts in the UK. We understand how the guidance was written. It contains some of our case studies. We understand how it works. And certainly by using some of our spill modelling techniques, what we can do is we can prove or show you as the customer, which you can then sit down with the environment and show it, show them the magnitude of your problem, what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it before you actually start spending money on buying equipment that might be wrong.
What recommendation do you have for anyone looking for advice around water pollution prevention?
You address these issues. First thing is always use our six point process. The first one is to look at the regulation, then understand how the regulations affect your business. Once you’ve done that, carry out a full risk assessment, be honest and look at what your risk of your businesses actually are and what could happen. Then you want to design off that risk assessment, what you need to do, you need to look at that and produce a design. Once you’ve got that design, implement it, build it, set it up, get it work, then all you need to do is monitor, maintain, and document the system that you’ve implemented. Keep in touch with what you’re doing. Keep looking at guidance, and how regulations changed and technology is changing. Keep the system that you’ve put in place operational and keep it working. If you’d like to know more, why don’t you contact us at www.penstocksolutions.co.uk
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David Cole MSEE
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.