What Is A PIRP?

A PIRP, or Pollution Incident Response Plan, is a site-specific document that should be prepared and distributed to aid in incident response to prevent environmental pollution.  This blog will discuss PIRPs, what it should contain, how it can be used and who should know about it.

What information should be included in my PIRP?

A useful PIRP contains all the information needed for pollution incident response in a quick, easy to read format.  Due to the nature of pollution incidents, the information included will need to be site specific and regularly reviewed.  However, there are certain documents and pieces of information that are essential and should be included in every effective PIRP.  As a minimum, your PIRP should contain:

  • Site information including the site address, location in context, proximity to sensitive sites or areas, whether it is liable to flooding and any other defining features;
  • Internal and external contact information;
  • A record of site storage including location, quantity and hazardous properties;
  • Spill procedure;
  • Pollution control arrangements, including consideration of fire water run-off;
  • Drainage plan.

How can I use my PIRP?

The PIRP is designed to be easy to use in the event of an incident and contain all the information required to ensure an incident is dealt with efficiently while minimising environmental pollution.  The plan will inform you of where pollution is likely to go, where areas of control are and where it can be intercepted before leaving your site.  If the pollution has already escaped site, the PIRP will inform you of where this is likely to have occurred and where it can have gone to help with pollution clean-up.  There should also be information concerning the likely quantity and type of spilled material and its hazardous properties to ensure you have a measured response.

Who should know about my PIRP?

The relevant contents of the PIRP should be communicated to all staff so they are aware of what to do in an emergency.  This could include who to inform, raising the alarm and immediate actions.  Your on-site spill team should be aware of the entire PIRP to ensure they can respond quickly and effectively to prevent pollution from leaving your site.

In addition, if you are a higher risk site, you may want to share some, or all of your PIRP with external contacts.  This could include the fire department, so they are aware of your site arrangements and risks in the event of a fire, or neighbours who may need to know about evacuation procedures if there is an incident.

A PIRP is a useful document that all sites should have to help with quick and effective incident response.  The document should be carefully prepared and contain all relevant site-specific information to ensure that pollution is identified and dealt with properly.  The document should be readily available to all interested parties and everyone should be aware of its contents prior to an incident occurring.