Desperately seeking certification

IETG and Severn Trent Water have introduced a system that provides a turnkey solution to companies seeking IPPC certification.

Many companies may be feeling threatened by the upcoming Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations, which are designed to apply a systematic approach to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution at source through the efficient use of natural resources.

Although the regulations build on current PPC regulations - which larger industries are already familiar with - many businesses will be affected by the legislation for the first time. This legislation goes much further, not just dealing with emissions to land, air and water but also noise and vibration, waste minimisation, environmental accidents and site protection. As each site will be unique, each individual application will require a different blend of data acquisition methods, water and waste management and consultation. Recently IETG has been working for Severn Trent Water (STW) carrying out a number of surveys to assist companies in gaining IPPC certification.

STW has been working for a number of it's business customers on environmental legislation and has produced Waste Guardian, a services product for its business customers to help drive down costs, as well as meeting the need to demonstrate environmental responsibility and control. The Waste Guardian package incorporates a range of services including data monitoring, quality monitoring, utility mapping and water balance, a detailed analysis of water use and effluent discharge from processes on site.

STW has calculated that the typical cost per business of IPPC compliance is around £48,000 and the fees alone for such a business with three process components would amount to £16,600. "But careful planning, expertise, innovation and a close partnership can bring cost and compliance benefits to companies working towards IPPC compliance", adds Mark Needham, Severn Trent Water's industrial sector manager.

"Our role is to help our business customers plan ahead in a cost effective and efficient way", adds Needham. Implementation of IPPC is to be phased in between 2001 and 2007 on a sector-by-sector basis. Regulations will cover the following sectors: energy; metal; mineral; chemical; waste management; paper; pulp and board manufacturing; carbon; tar and bitumen; coating; printing and textile treatments; timber; animal and vegetable waste treatment plus food and drink industries. The food and drink industry, for example, must complete their applications by the end of 2004. All installations that fall within the scope of the IPPC regulations will require a permit in order to operate. In addition, any new installation, irrespective of industry sector, will require a permit before they begin operation. IETG, who provides comprehensive data capture, analysis and information management services for the environmental and infrastructure sectors, has been working for STW to supply the data requirements for IPPC applications.

An application can be made by each particular site (self application) or by a certifying body (a subcontracted specialist - typically a consultant). The first stage of any application is the acquisition of a full set of baseline data to determine 'the state of the environment' and identify any potential pollution risks associated with the site.

The baseline data would include:

  • mapping of the site to determine all emission points (including underground utilities utilising electro-location and ground penetrating techniques),
  • emissions to surface and groundwater (using CCTV, for instance),
  • emissions to air (including fugitive emissions),
  • condition of the site (contamination of land and groundwater, etc),
  • integration of data into a geographical information system. This data may be readily available from routine monitoring previously conducted at the site, especially on larger sites closely audited by the Environment Agency. However, it is unlikely that sites will have complete information on their total baseline data across all environmental media, particularly the position and condition of underground utilities.

    In addition to the baseline data the following site survey data may be required for an application:

  • geotechnical investigation to determine historical pollution in soil and groundwater including drilling, window sampling and soil/groundwater testing,
  • location, mapping and surveying of the site to include all above and belowground utilities utilising land survey and ground penetrating radar,
  • investigation of sewer network to determine pathways and active pollution using CCTV,
  • collation of current routine periodic and constant monitoring data (air, water) from previous manual or automated monitoring data,
  • presentation in GIS format.

    The second stage is carrying out ongoing monitoring. Once a site operator has obtained an IPPC Permit, they must maintain the permit through regular monitoring and striving for constant improvement and best available technology (BAT). Continual monitoring must be carried out across all media highlighted as being a pollution source, pathway or receptor. Great emphasis is placed on presenting the data in a concise format to enable IPPC permits to be checked quickly and easily on an ongoing basis.

    To gain a permit, operators have to show that they have systematically sought best available technology (BAT) to prevent or reduce impacts to air, land and water. BAT must take into account local factors (topography, weather conditions, groundwater quality, antecedent pollution levels, etc.) and must be applied even if current emission limits are already being complied with. Time limits for operators will be set in the IPPC permit, but the applicant must give a clear timetable for meeting BAT in their application for a permit. BAT is almost impossible to implement without a thorough understanding of existing processes and levels of current pollution. It can be applied in two forms - at the primary process level and as abatement techniques to reduce pollution levels.

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