Chemical spillage service launched

Onyx Total Waste Management (TWM) - formerly Sarp UK Ltd - and the National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) have teamed up to launch a new and unique service for the chemical sector and its service providers.

As of next month, UK chemical manufacturers, distributors and hauliers will be able to benefit from the new service, known as ‘Cascaid’, which aims to provide an integrated approach to chemical safety management.

Onyx Total Waste Management has been supplying chemical clean-up services on a less formal basis for the best part of 10 years, albeit under different names. However, until now it has been unable to dedicate sufficient resources to the service to guarantee a constant level of response.

Cascaid will provide round the clock advice and cleanup services in the event of an accident involving chemical spillage. It will be officially launched at the Environment Technology Exhibition (ET’99) which is to be held at the NEC in Birmingham this coming June 8 to 10.

Brian Lynch is emergency response manager for Onyx TWM: “Two years ago the company realised that it would either have to withdraw from emergency response altogether or make a commitment to develop its involvement further,” he says. “It decided to do the latter, and so established a partnership with NCEC, which was already involved in the provision of information on chemical emergency procedures to industry.”

In order to offer comprehensive coverage, Onyx has divided the UK into six cells or regions, with depots in Grangemouth, Teesside, Cheshire, Hull, Birmingham and St Albans. Dedicated vehicles, equipment and personnel are to be stationed at each of the six sites on a 24-hour basis from mid-June. The personnel involved are already trained in chemical handling, safety awareness, high-pressure water jetting and the use of personal protective equipment and breathing apparatus, and are undergoing further formal training before the scheme begins.

While Cascaid will be unable to guarantee an exact response time to any particular location or incident, the aim of the service is to have a response team mobilised within one hour of receiving a call requesting help.

Companies wishing to take advantage of Cascaid’s help will, however, be required to enter into a contract with Onyx. “Chemical incidents can be very dangerous,” Lynch explains, “and as such the company won’t expose its personnel to totally unknown situations. It is therefore important to assess the particular needs of each customer before entering into an agreement in order to ensure that Cascaid is familiar with the customer’s facilities and vehicles and that it is able to deal with the full range of products handled or transported by that particular customer.” The service is, as yet, unequipped to handle gases, radioactive substances and explosives.

A large number of major chemical manufacturers and their service providers have, however, already expressed a strong interest in Cascaid – indeed, the service has been devised in close consultation with prospective customers in order to meet their requirements. According to Lynch, many are waiting to sign up as soon as the service is available.

“Having been established with small companies in mind, initial subscription fees are not expensive, and companies can then choose to opt for national or regional coverage, depending on their needs and budget.” On negotiating a contract, a company is given a set of rates which will apply if and when assistance is required.

The service has been broadly welcomed by police and fire brigades around the country, as Lynch explains: “The emergency services are the first on the scene of any major incident, and are all too aware of the importance of having quick access to reliable information and practical help in the event of a chemical spillage. Cascaid is the first service of this type which can guarantee the provision of both these essential elements on receipt of a single phone call.” Further, the emergency services are actively promoting Cascaid to the chemical industry, and the Chemical Industry Association (CIA) has granted the company authorisation to put distinct markings on the roof of its vehicles to enable identification from the air.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie