How and Why Should I Identify my Pollution Risk Areas?

Full awareness of your site arrangements and risks is the first step to effective pollution control.  This blog will discuss how you can identify your pollution risk areas and what you can use this information for.

What are pollution risk areas?

Pollution risk areas are places on your site where pollution may occur.  Some of these risks are obvious, such as vehicle refuelling areas and fuel tanks.  Other areas are less obvious, such as car parks and yard areas.

Why should I identify pollution risk areas?

You can’t control what you don’t know.  Identifying your pollution risk areas and getting full transparency of what is happening on site and how it can cause pollution allows you to control the risks and reduce the chances of incidents occurring, which could result in prosecutions or fines.

How do I identify pollution risk areas?

Initially, you need to be aware of all the activities that take place on your site.  You should take a site tour, taking note of what is stored, where and how much, where liquids are used, where vehicles are parked and the routes they take and where any effluent is generated, for example from vehicle washes.  You should look for day to day activities and anything that takes place intermittently.   You are looking out for worst case scenarios – anything that could possibly cause pollution should be noted down.

What should I do with the pollution risk areas?

Once you are confident that all pollution risk areas have been identified, you can plot them on a site map so everyone is aware of the risks on site.  This can be a part of your Pollution Incident Response Plan (read our blog about it here) and your Site Environmental Emergency Plan (read the blog here).

The next consideration is whether appropriate controls are in place to ensure the risks of pollution from these areas is managed to an acceptable level.  Each area should be assessed for the level of risk and what controls are appropriate to be deployed in those areas.  For example, liquid storage areas should have a spill kit, of the appropriate type and quantity, nearby that can be quickly used in the event of a spill or leak.  Other areas like car parks and vehicle refuelling areas should be serviced by an interceptor (read our face sheet here for more information) to ensure that any oil is intercepted prior to leaving site and causing environmental pollution.  These controls can be added to your pollution risk areas plan so you have a full picture of pollution risk management for your site.

Identifying your pollution risk areas will ensure you are fully aware of what is happening on your site and allow you to plan the appropriate controls to reduce and manage your sites pollution risk.  This work will contribute to your wider pollution planning and control strategy and help ensure you remain in the low culpability bracket if anything ever goes wrong.