Pollution prevention information for businesses

October 11, 2016   //   No Comments

hazardAs a business owner or manager, you’re responsible for preventing your business or organisation from causing or allowing pollution to happen. Pollution is when any substance that harms or could harm people or the environment gets into the air, water or ground.  The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency have produced these guidelines to help businesses prevent pollution:

  • Polluting substances: it’s not just hazardous substances that can harm people or the environment. Any substance that’s not found naturally in an environment could cause pollution, and in certain circumstances even natural substances can pollute. You may need an environmental permit if you’re discharging substances to surface water or groundwater or working with waste.
  • Activities that produce contaminated water: if your business activities produce contaminated water or other polluting liquids (‘trade effluent’) you must make sure it doesn’t cause pollution.  Such activities may include vehicle washing, wheelie bin washing or yard cleaning.  You should reuse or dispose of contaminated water by collecting it in a sealed system for reuse, treatment on site or removal by a registered waste carrier.  You may also put it down the foul water (or combined) drain if you’ve got permission from your water company – contact them to get consent.
  • Correct use of drains: you must make sure contaminated and clean water from your premises and business activities goes into the correct drain or is recycled or removed by a registered waste
  • Storing materials, products and waste: hazardous and non-hazardous waste must be stored separately. This reduces the risk of fire and means that if there is an incident – such as a spill – the
  • Storing hazardous substances: if you store more than a specific amount of a hazardous substance, you must register with the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) competent authority. Your business will also need to apply to your planning authority for hazardous substances consent and follow other Health and Safety Executive guidance (eg on displaying warning notices).
  • Unloading and moving potential pollutants
  • Set up an environmental management system

Read the full guidelines here.