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3 Ways to Generate Less Contaminated Water on Construction Sites

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The leakage and spillage of the oil, fuel and other hydrocarbon-based fluids used to operate machinery on construction sites is a common source of water pollution.

When it rains, water will pool in excavations, bunds and spill trays. If the water is contaminated with hydrocarbons, you have a high volume of waste water on your hands which needs to be disposed of. This needlessly increases your environmental impact as well as your hazardous waste disposal costs.

Here, we look at three scenarios where you can reduce the volume of waste you generate using low-cost and highly effective solutions.

Rain-filled Spill Trays

Most spill containment products used on construction sites allow rainwater to accumulate and have to be emptied on a regular basis. The water inside becomes contaminated with the oil or fuel captured by the tray or absorbent lining which generates litres of hazardous waste that needs to be disposed of responsibly. This can present a practical challenge for operatives and often results in the contaminated water being emptied out onto the ground. Not only is this detrimental for the environment but failure to implement proper spill control measures can lead to site closures, fines and even prosecution.

With Green Rhino’s EnviroPad® no waste water is generated. These innovative spill pads contains a smart polymer which solidifies oil and fuel, trapping it inside whilst the rainwater runs through or off the surface, uncontaminated by the solidified pollutants. EnviroPad® industrial spill mats can be left outside in all weathers, allowed to drain before storage, and jet washed when dirty without risk of polluting the environment. (See how our smart polymer technology works in the video below.)

What’s more, the superior performance of these spill containment mats costs less than products such as Plant Nappy which are prone to leaking and need additional liners.

Rain-filled Bunds & Tanks

In a similar manner, contaminated bunds – such as fuel storage areas – can also fill with rainwater and need to be emptied before overflowing. The usual recourse here is to call in a vacuum tanker which can cost around a £1,000 per visit. Over a wet autumn and winter, you can rack up significant costs. In addition, you have the risk that the bund overflows before it can be emptied.

Green Rhino’s Oil Removal Cartridges solve the problem. Fitted to a drainage outlet in the wall of the bund or tank, they filter out hydrocarbon contaminants, as well as sediment, whilst allowing the cleaned rainwater to discharge into the environment.

Like EnviroPad, our oil removal cartridges contain our proprietary smart polymer which solidifies oil and fuel so that it can’t leak out, providing low cost, low maintenance and scalable drainage for bunds and fuel storage areas.

Once all the smart polymer has been activated, flow is blocked until the cartridge is replaced. This also ensures that the cartridge shuts off in the event of a high volume spillage into the bund.

These cartridges are available with different capacities to suit a wide range of jobs and applications with prices starting from around £250 per unit.

Water-filled Excavations

Flooded excavations can be a frustrating source of delays on construction projects. When the water in an excavation is contaminated with oil or fuel it must be removed with due care to the environment. The traditional method of disposal is to call in a vacuum tanker. This is an expensive solution and creates hundreds if not thousands of litres of waste water which needs to be processed.

A greener and cheaper alternative is to clean the water first and then pump it out through a Green Rhino Oil & Sediment Dewatering Filter.

To clean the water, you might think of absorbent cushions or pillows. However, whilst they will soak up oil and fuel they have a major disadvantage: absorbents do not retain pollutants permanently. When you lift an absorbent pillow out of the water, polluted water will drain out of it – making it difficult to clean the water completely. It also makes it difficult to dispose of the pillow without further leakage or without having to place it in a plastic bag.

Green Rhino’s smart polymer-based Oil Retention Pillows soak up and solidify contaminants so that only clean water drains out. These are so effective that you can actually wring out the pillows without any leakage of the solidified pollutants.

Once the water in the excavation has been cleaned, it can be pumped through a Green Rhino Oil & Sediment Filter which will filter out sediment and any last vestiges of hydrocarbon contamination.

We’ve packaged together everything you need for fast, effective dewatering in the Green Rhino Quick Response Dewatering Pack which includes an Oil & Sediment Filter, five Oil Retention Pillows and a pack of 100 Oil Detection Strips.

See our Best Practice Guide to Dewatering Excavations for more advice.

Take The Next Step

Book a site demo and we’ll show you how our smart polymer converts oil and fuel into solid rubber. It’s a very popular demonstration which never fails to convert and helps to engage site operatives with your spill control measures. We’ll also demonstrate how our range of products can reduce risks across your sites.

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