Tag Archives: Bunds

Marinas and leisure boat operators under scrutiny.

The Environment Agency and regional water companies have a statutory responsibility to enforce controls on any business activity that produces waste water generically called “trade effluent” and failure to comply with regulations may result in significant fines to your business. Added to which you have the European Water Framework Directive that was signed into law by all European Union countries in the year 2000. The Directive set an initial time frame for implementation of water improvement frameworks, which had to be operational by the end of 2012, with the detailed objectives being achieved by the end of 2015.


Marinas, commercial and leisure boat operators have a particularly hard time when it comes to compliance given the pollution potential they generate in the normal course of business. Potential sources of pollutants commonly found in many marinas include oil, fuel, boat sewage, toxic metals, solvents, antifreeze, and detergents. As figures show water pollution is on an upward curve the Environment Agency is stepping up its inspections to ensure all marina and boatyard businesses address this problem.

The best way to minimise accidental pollution is to put in place an Environmental Management Plan based on a thorough risk assessment of your business operations. Effective environmental protection is easier if you have a structured documented management plan that the workforce can refer to.

Achieving practical outcomes is based on four stages.
Identify the potential risks and environmental impact
Implement safeguards and controls including staff training and customer awareness.
Check and monitor safeguards regularly to ensure compliance with your management plan
Review your plan and adapt to changing working practices or new risks.

Ensuring environmental safety is often common sense. Siting oil and fuel tanks as far away from water courses as possible is an obvious example but you should also ensure tanks have bunds with sufficient capacity to contain any spillage. Choose spill control products appropriate to the risk and site them in close proximity to the risk. Oil only spill absorbents for example are not effective on water based effluents and no control measures will be effective if they are not readily accessible. Ensure customers, particularly boat owners on your moorings are aware of their responsibilities and know the type and location of spill control provisions available on site. You can also encourage customers to carry their own spill control kits which you can supply.

We all have a responsibility to protect the environment and after all the industry rely on having safe clean waterways to attract more boating enthusiasts.


Mineral Oil Spill blamed for bird contamination

Hundreds of seabirds washed up in an oil spill on the south coast from Sussex to Cornwall on Thursday 31st January were contaminated with a waxy substance that is now believed to be a mixture of refined mineral oils, most probably jettisoned from a ship passing through the Western approaches to the English Channel.
A major rescue operation has been launched by the RSPCA and other local charities to capture and clean the affected birds. Inevitably it is highly likely that many more birds have perished out to sea than have been rescued and even then it has proved such a major task to remove the contamination that not all the birds rescued will survive.


Preventing environmental pollution both on land and sea is now given top priority and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have sent a counter pollution surveillance aircraft to investigate the sea areas between Dover and the Isles of Scilly looking for the source. Shipping schedules and cargo records are also being scoured to try and pinpoint the culprit.
The fact that the captain of the vessel did not report the spill suggests it was not accidental and more likely to do with saving money. Let’s hope the authorities can track the ship down and prosecute the offender at least as a deterrent to others. Sadly as far as the Guillemots are concerned the damage is already done and worse still right at the start of the breeding season.
The incident, and the expensive resources put behind locating the source should act as a reminder to all those involved in the transport, storage and use of oils, fuels and other hazardous materials. It is a legal obligation to ensure appropriate spill control and containment measures such as absorbent products, bunds and spill kits are in place should a spill occur.

The Environment Agency is ever more vigilant and can force the perpetrator to foot the bill for environmental pollution caused by careless or irresponsible actions.

Conducting a spill risk assessment to help formulate a coherent spill control management system is the only sensible approach and will protect the viability of the business as well as the environment.

First aid for fuel spills could soak away problems for the economy

Spill control solutions have been needed on the UK’s major road network at least three times during October because of spilled fuel from vehicles involved in accidents.

The M3 in Hampshire, the M56 near Ellesmere Port and the A50 in Derbyshire all suffered diesel spills – and part of the M3 had to be resurfaced as a result.
Traffic JamBut the real suffering – apart from the accident victims, of course – was felt by the people in vehicles bottled up in the bottleneck of the resulting miles of traffic jams, and then by the long-suffering economy, which is slumped against the figurative ropes already.

You could argue that the people were simply inconvenienced – which was certainly the case in Derbyshire, where there were fears some might have to spend the night in their cars.

But what of the wider implications for the economy? What sales opportunities were wasted because of salesmen were stuck? How many customers went elsewhere because shops’ stock hadn’t arrived? How many small companies suffered another knock to their beleaguered finances because of the delays?


What did employers lose because employees were hours late for work? And how much fuel was squandered by thousands of engines ticking over for hours?

There are probably too many factors involved to arrive at a definitive answer – but the sum involved is undoubtedly considerable.ADR Spill Kit

So wouldn’t it be a great idea to have lorries carry their own ‘insurance’ against all this? If lorries were to travel equipped with a selection of absorbents, bunds, drip mats and other spill response equipment, a damage limitation exercise could start at once, which would limit the scope of the spill clean up effort required afterwards.

It wouldn’t need the marine spill kit required to deal with something on the scale of the Exxon Valdez, but a bag of absorbent granules, a couple of drain covers and a few oil absorbing socks, perhaps stowed alongside the ADR kit, could make a huge difference to a motorway diesel spill, and get traffic on the move again more quickly.

Far better not to have the accident in the first place, of course, and that’s what we’d prefer – but if it does, let’s prevent a drama turning into a crisis…