What is Pollution Prevention Planning?

Just like it sounds, pollution prevention planning is planning to prevent pollution.  This blog will discuss why you should consider pollution prevention planning and what you should think about.

Why do you need to think about Pollution Prevention Planning?

All businesses have a legal obligation to prevent pollution as a result of their activities.  Part of that obligation is to consider where pollution could occur and put the necessary control measures in place to either prevent the pollution from occurring or prevent it from leaving site.  You must continually manage your control measures to ensure they remain effective and efficient and you are expected to consider normal and abnormal activities that may create pollution and emergency situations.

Know your site

In order to plan for preventing pollution, you must be fully aware of your site arrangements and the activities that you carry out.  This will include your normal day-to-day activities and any activities you occasionally carry out.  You must be able to identify areas where pollution could occur (e.g. parking areas, refuelling areas, vehicle washes etc.) and how it could escape your site.  Including unmade ground, you should be aware of your drainage arrangements.  This will include foul and surface underground drainage systems and any drainage infrastructure like interceptors or pumping stations and will be shown on your drainage plan.

Consider the best controls

Once you know where pollution could occur, you should consider how you will manage it.  You must consider appropriate controls to control the source (where the pollution comes from) or the pathway (how pollution will enter the environment).  Drainage controls can include interceptors (that capture oil that has been discharged) and grease traps (usually on drains from canteens) and these controls must be maintained to remain effective.  Other controls may include bunding all liquids and regularly checking them for leaks or contamination.  You should also have spill kits in spill risk areas for use in the event of a spillage.

What do you do in an emergency?

You should have comprehensive procedures in place to ensure you control pollution in the event of an emergency.  A Pollution Incident Response Plan (PIRP) can help you to prepare.  It should contain emergency contact information, your drainage plan, spill risk information (e.g. tanks and site storage, refuelling areas etc.) and spill kit arrangements.  All staff should be aware of the plan and it should be available to the emergency services or spill response contractor in an emergency.  You must consider how to prevent or minimise pollution if you have an emergency and this will include considerations like managing fire water run-off (find out more about that here).

All sites have the potential to cause pollution and you must consider and take actions to plan for pollution prevention.  This is a legal obligation and can reduce the consequences of prosecution if you have an incident.  You must consider everything you do on site and implement and manage the control measures required to plan against pollution.