We have a duty of care to the environment which involves taking pollution control very seriously. As a chemical manufacturer, our pollution will come from spillages that may result from poor equipment, accidents, bad manufacturing practices and poor spill capture systems.
In order to prevent pollution through spillages, it’s important that we maintain our manufacturing vessels to prevent leakages. To do this, we have a detailed maintenance programme.
There are three main areas where we need to have spill control measures in place:
- The internal working environment
- Outside compounds where chemicals are stored
- On the road where we transport products
To prevent spills in the internal working environment, we use either a sump or spill capture flooring. Our spill capture flooring is made of a high-density plastic that interlocks to make a floor. We work on top of this flooring so any potential spills get caught in a plastic base. This prevents spillages to the actual work environment and stops anything from going down the drain or into the ground.
In the event of a spillage, we need to be able to treat it (if it is safe to do so) and prevent as much as possible from entering the drainage system or the surrounding environment.
We keep spill kits on site, which are ready to be used in case of a spillage. The spill kits contain:
- Bags of absorbent powder, which is capable of treating everything except hydrofluoric acid
- Chemical booms
- Drain covers
- Sealing putty for drums, in case of puncture
- Traffic cones in case anything gets spilled on road and needs to be cordoned off
- Emergency air horns
We carry our spill control equipment on vehicles for delivery and all spill kits are inspected regularly to make sure they’re up-to-date.
It’s important that we consider flammable materials and therefore don’t keep any metal objects in our spill kits as they might create a spark. We use anti-static tools wherever possible, such as a plastic shovel.
As part of our emergency procedures, we have a trained team of people for handling spills and there are written procedures for spill control.
If the building needs to be evacuated, then we would have to involve the emergency services.
The way we store chemicals throughout our facility can have a lasting impact on reducing spills and controlling pollution.
All hazardous chemicals are stored on sumps – these have a grill for chemicals to leak through, and a plastic tray to catch the chemicals. Sumps come in various sizes to hold different capacities, and we have sumps that can sufficiently store up to 2 x 1000 litre IBC’s.
Smaller lab pack chemicals are stored in plastic trays and any retained product samples are stored in retaining trays.
Pollution control at a chemical manufacturer is largely about controlling spillages to reduce the chance of hazardous chemicals seeping into the drainage systems and the environment.
This post is part of a recent series about environmental measures at ReAgent. You can read up on previous posts on how we recycle consumable waste and save energy in the workplace. Check back on the blog soon to find out how we reduce our environmental impact during manufacturing processes.