New MCERTS to cover dioxin emissions

A national scheme that gives pollution monitoring equipment a clean bill of health and certifies its accuracy and reliability has been expanded to cover two dioxin monitors.

The Environment Agency's Monitoring Certification Scheme (MCERTS) awards kite marks to pollution-gauging equipment that meets the highest standard and helps industry comply with regulations.

MCERTS is important as not only does it assure quality, but Environment Agency permits issued under the Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) regulations require manufacturers to use MCERTS-approved monitoring equipment where such products are available.

Until now there has been no MCERTS approved equipment for continuous monitoring of dangerous dioxins in stack gas emissions.

But Sira, one of two organisations that runs the scheme for the EA, has now issued
two certificates for two new monitors - Model G.20 from Monitoring Systems and the Becker Messtechnik AMESA Isokinetic Sampling Systems.

While PPC permits do expect facilties to introduce MCERTS equipment as it becomes available, the EA has given assurances that there is no need for industry-wide panic buying just yet.

"If you've got existing equipment in place that's working well and doing its job, you're not going to have to rip it all out and start from scratch," John Tipping, the EA's technical manager with responsibility for the area, told edie.

"It's more a question of when it breaks down or needs replacing, then any new equipment has to be MCERTS registered."

He said that while individual sites might have a clause in their PPC requiring continuous monitoring of dioxins there was currently no across-the-board legal requirement in the UK so the certification had not really created a duopoly.

"Until there is a requirement I can't see that there would be a rush for take up," he said.

"But these manufacturers are getting ahead of the game by registering their products."

The manufacturers are convinced the ability to demonstrate their equipment meets the stringent technical requirements of the MCERT process will give them an edge.

Cameron Stathers of Casella Eti's, which markets the AMESA in the UK, said he expected sales of the company's monitors to increase rapidly as a result of certification.

"The MCERTS certification process was cost effective, quick and easy, and we expect increased sales as a consequence of having the AMESA certified.

"The product also has a German TUV certificate, which will compliment this new MCERTS certification," said Mr Stathers.

Westech Instrument Services Ltd, sells the Model G.20 in the UK.

Mike Smurthwaite, Westech's managing director, believes that because MCERTS is internationally recognised, the MCERTS certification of the Model G.20 will enhance the credibility of continuous dioxin monitoring.

"Operators can be confident that using the certified product as part of a process control package will eventually reduce dioxin emissions," he said.

Bob Cooper, deputy chief executive of Sira's certification service, said MCERTS were in demand because they kept EA inspectors happy by proving their reported monitoring data is reliable.

"Not having MCERTS is like driving an old car without an MOT certificate," he said.

"Police are more likely to pull you over if you're in an older car but the MOT certificate proves the vehicle is fit for purpose."

Mr Tipping warned that installing certified equipment did not make sites immune from EA spot checks but would lower the risk and frequency.

"Knowing they have MCERTS equipment is just one factor," he said.

"It's just part of the wider picture, but it provides us with a degree of confidence and we do focus our checks on areas of most concern."

By Sam Bond



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