There has been a rapid rise in the use of Green Rhino EnviroPad® for construction site refuelling stations. Here Skanska-Costain-Strabag JV and East West Rail Alliance explain the benefits.
Construction sites can have a lot of large vehicles in operation, particularly in the groundwork stage. These vehicles need refuelling in order to keep them running so one or more refuelling stations will be set up onsite using fuel bowsers.
To save time and fuel, it helps to move refuelling stations to where the vehicles are working. However, you can’t just place them anywhere because where there is fuel, there needs to be spill control.
There’s a balance to be struck between pollution prevention, ease of relocation and cost – which is where Green Rhino comes in.
Some companies adopt a belt-and-braces approach by laying down a large concrete plinth on top of an impermeable membrane. This provides a robust and protective area to house fuel bowsers and survive the daily attentions of vehicles such as excavators. This is an effective approach and, while costly, may be perfect for a central refuelling station on a large site. For satellite refuelling stations, however, these concrete beds would be impractical, costly and time-consuming to move.
A lower cost and more flexible approach is to use industrial spill mats, spill pads or trays at refuelling stations. Many companies have tried rigid or absorbent-based spill trays but these products are increasingly falling out of favour due to their environmental drawbacks and impracticality.
EnviroPad fuel spill mats provide the perfect balance of flexibility, environmental performance and low cost.
There is also one crucial advantage that EnviroPad has over absorbent-based spill trays: it retains pollutants permanently. EnviroPad spill contaminant mats use smart polymers which don’t just absorb fuel but solidify it into an insoluble rubber-like substance, trapping it inside the pad so it cannot escape. Compare this with absorbent or rigid spill trays where any contained pollutants can be flushed out by rainfall or cleaning.
Two companies replacing absorbent-based spill trays with EnviroPad are the Skanska-Costain-Strabag JV and East West Rail Alliance.
For SCS, working on behalf of HS2 at Euston, it was pollution prevention that drove the choice of EnviroPad for its refuelling stations.
Steve Skalecki, Environmental Lead, explains “What can you do with nappies full of oily rainwater? It’s impractical for operatives to move them or dispose of the water responsibly. The temptation is to simply tip the waste water out onto the ground – defeating the object of the item in the first place. I take our environmental obligations more seriously than that.”
“EnviroPad solves the problem. Pollutants can’t leak out or overflow which means that my colleagues and I don’t have to worry about spills every time it rains. If we want to move a fuel bowser we simply pick up the EnviroPad and take it with us. I have recommended that all SCS sites use EnviroPad.”
“I previously introduced EnviroPad on the A14 project and it was a huge success. The site demo Green Rhino delivered to management and operatives was really well received. The demonstration of how the smart polymer turns oil into solid rubber was really memorable and resulted in site staff taking more ownership of spill control.”
East West Rail Alliance
For the East West Rail Alliance in Bletchley, this disadvantage of spill trays proved doubly impractical.
EWR uses fuel bowser trailers for their refuelling stations. Whilst these are easy to move around site, the absorbent spill trays they previously used for spill containment were not.
Jose Chicharro, Environment Advisor: “The absorbent spill trays fill with oily water when it rains. This in itself is a spill hazard but the weight of the saturated units, together with how dirty they got, meant that the operatives would often leave them behind.”
“The light weight of the EnviroPad, and the carry handles, enable us to hang them on the side of the fuel trailers when not in use and when the trailers are being relocated. This also keeps them clean. Because of the way EnviroPad retains the spills inside we know that none of the fuel will drain out when the pad is hanging up. This makes EnviroPad a much cleaner solution for our operatives and the environment. I also found the instructions printed on the top of the EnviroPad really helpful when I was training our plant drivers.”
Flexible, Long-lasting Solution
EnviroPads are used in a range of configurations. Some companies use a larger EnviroPad oil spill mat under the fuel bowser and another smaller EnviroPad oil spill pad placed under the fuel tank of the vehicle. Drivers may carry the smaller EnviroPad around in their cab.
Some customers use the XXL EnviroPad which provides enough room to park a vehicle on top next to the fuel bowser – thus providing spill control at both ends of the refuelling process. This is only possible because the EnviroPad doesn’t need sidewalls (because it doesn’t leak).
Of course, if you are driving large vehicles on and off an EnviroPad it needs to be very tough. When we agreed to let one customer test the resilience of an XXL EnviroPad, they promptly drove a large excavator on top and twisted the tracks (watch the video). The customer expected the EnviroPad to be torn to shreds. There was a bit of superficial damage but they (and we) were delighted with how well it stood up to the challenge.
As you would suspect, the pads can get covered in mud but because EnviroPad retains hydrocarbons permanently it can be jet washed clean safely – none of the contaminants will be flushed out. the same can’t be said for spill trays.
Reducing Your Costs
All projects are mindful of escalating costs and we are confident that EnviroPad oil spill absorbent mats can help to reduce them. They are significantly cheaper than a concrete plinth solution, safer and more cost effective than popular absorbent-based spill trays, are long lasting, and available to purchase in five different sizes.
Steve Skalecki at SCS: ‘The five sizes of EnviroPad enables us to better match the pad with the application, reducing our spend. We’ll be here until 2026 so that could lead to significant savings over the duration of the project.’
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