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Housebuilders: 5 Better Ways to Prevent Pollution on Your Sites (and Save Money)

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You know your environmental obligations and no doubt you’ve got procedures in place. But many existing remedies are less than ideal. Some fail to prevent pollution effectively, some encourage non-compliant behaviour by operatives, and many generate large volumes of waste. Often, flaws and malpractices are known and a blind eye is turned. Which begs the question: are you compliant or complicit?

In this article we look at five common pollution scenarios on housebuilding sites and how you can remove the risks of product failure and negligent behaviour. Importantly, these measures are likely to cost less than what you are currently doing and in many cases generate less waste.

1. Leaking or overflowing spill trays and nappies

Risk: When it rains, spill trays and nappy-style products fill with rainwater which becomes contaminated with the pollutants inside. If they overflow, the contaminated water flows into the environment which is a breach of environmental law. Of course, this contaminated water should be emptied into your hazardous waste bins before it overflows. The impracticality of doing this, however, can lead operatives to simply tip it out onto the ground. So why continue using these products?

Remedy: Green Rhino’s EnviroPad contains a smart polymer which solidifies oil and fuel so that it can’t leak out. And because contaminated water doesn’t pool inside, it doesn’t need emptying and can’t overflow. EnviroPad delivers better spill control, saves you money and generates less waste. Find how in Spill Pad, Mat, Nappy or Tray – Which is Best?

2. Site run-off blocking or contaminating surface drains

Risk: When it rains, silty or polluted run-off from your site can enter the surface drainage system. Blocking or polluting drains can lead to expensive vacuum tankering and/or fines if you are caught.

Remedy: Drain Filters provide an easy-to-use and low-cost solution. They sit inside a drain and filter out sediment, discharging clean water into the drain. Green Rhino’s EnviroHorn Drain Filters can be installed in five minutes, emptied and reused when full, and easily replaced. EnviroHorn is also available with a hydrocarbon filter for added protection but if you regularly see an oily sheen on site run-off you have problems elsewhere on site which need addressing.

3. Refuelling points

Risk: Most sites have one or more refuelling points. Here there is a continual risk of spilt fuel entering the environment. Some companies lay concrete hardstandings on which fuel bowsers are placed and refuelling occurs. This is expensive and inconvenient if you need to move the refuelling point. It also won’t stop contaminated run-off unless spill containment measures are put in place around the edges.

Remedy: A far more cost-effective and flexible solution can be delivered using EnviroPad. Place one underneath the fuel bowser to capture drips and spills when releasing or replacing the fuel hose, and place a smaller portable EnviroPad on the ground under the vehicle’s fuel tank to collect spills at that end.

On some sites, vehicle drivers are provided with a small EnviroPad to keep in their cab and place on the ground under the fuel tank inlet when refuelling. Unlike absorbent-based spill mats, fuel won’t drain out of them in the cab or onto the driver’s clothing.

Alternatively, an XXL EnviroPad can be used to accommodate a bowser and a vehicle.

If your fuel bowsers are not steel and at risk of impact damage, then they should be stored on bunds which can hold 110% or more of the volume of fuel in the containers.

4. Bunds & tanks overflowing

Risk: You may have bunded areas where you store fuel, oil or other polluting liquids. These bunds can become contaminated by spillages. After persistent wet weather, bunds can start to fill up and risk overflowing, allowing this contaminated water to pollute the environment. If you catch them in time, the usual remedy is to call in an expensive vacuum tanker to empty the bund.

Remedy: Green Rhino’s Oil Removal Cartridges act as a drainage outlet on the wall of the tank or bund, filtering out hydrocarbons while discharging clean rainwater. This keeps your bund empty and the environment clean. Like EnviroPad, the cartridges contain a smart polymer which attracts and solidifies any hydrocarbons in the outflow. No expensive vacuum tankers and less waste water generated.

5. Dewatering rain-filled excavations

Risk: Rain causes another headache on construction sites by filling excavations. Silty and/or polluted water can not be discharged straight into the environment. This can lead to project delays while the excavation is emptied, particularly if the water is contaminated and third-party contractors are required. The prospect of delays or additonal costs may encourage operatives to take shortcuts and ignore the pollution risk.

Remedy: Dewatering filters provide a quick, cost-effective and compliant way to empty excavations. These filters connect to a pump and filter out sediment before discharging clean water into the environment. You can empty the filters when full and reuse up to 20 times. For excavations contaminated with hydrocarbons, consider the Green Rhino Quick Response Dewatering Pack. This contains Oil Detection StripsOil Retention Pillows and an Oil & Sediment Dewatering Filter. Find out more in our Best Practice Guide to Dewatering Excavations.

Whether your focus is the environment, operations or planning, you’ll want your pollution prevention measures to deliver the maximum protection. Green Rhino has a range of smart pollution prevention products that deliver exceptional protection and cost savings.

For more information, see:

EnviroPad | EnviroHorn Drain Filter | Dewatering Filters | Quick Response Dewatering Pack

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