It is difficult keeping track of the latest developments regarding legislation and initiatives affecting our industry. David Mears guides us through developments
From a company point of view we are very much involved, offering products, services and advice to ensure compliance.
Here are some of the current matters that will be of interest to many:
The Groundwater Regulations 1998 were due to be updated and strengthened earlier this year and will affect all with washdown facilities. The latest news is that these are expected to come into force in "Spring 2009", according to DEFRA, and the list of substances is to be widened.
The new regulations require the Environment Agency to prevent hazardous substances and limit non-hazardous substances going into groundwater to avoid pollution.
We understand that a maximum £20,000 fine is still possible for a pollution incident, but this is subject to confirmation. This piece of legislation picks up on certain issues in the EU Water Framework Directive which came into force in December 2000 and brought into UK law in 2003.
The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009 is probably a new piece of legislation to most of us and came into force on 1st March 2009. It states; "If you or your business carry out an activity that causes environmental damage you will have to remedy the damage. You will no longer have to be prosecuted first. If there is a risk of damage from your business activities, you must prevent such damage occurring". Under these regulations, environmental damage is:
• damage to surface or underground water
• contamination of land where there is a significant risk to human health
• damage to natural habitats and species and protected sites
The Water Environment (Oil Storage) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 came into effect on 1st April 2006 and requires compliance by three dates. The last of these is 1st April 2010 for any remaining tanks not covered by the earlier dates. So, there are now less than 12 months to go for full compliance in Scotland.
These regulations go beyond the English ones (The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001) and cover every type of oil, including vegetable oil and any kind of container which is used and stored on premises above ground, whether inside or outside a building. This includes fixed tanks, intermediate bulk containers, drums (oil drums or similar containers used for storing oil) or mobile bowsers. Fortunately, diesel dispensing tanks are currently available at attractive prices, so now is the time to consider upgrading to a fully compliant tank, surely?
With the above acts in place there can be no ambiguity and it is abundantly clear that contaminated wash-off water should not be allowed to enter the groundwater. Washing off golf course and other turf maintenance machinery on a piece of concrete or hardstanding, allowing washings to flow to ground, is just not acceptable.
Causing pollution from diesel or other fuel tanks, even if only from dispensing drips is illegal. Certainly you can be made to pay for remediation and prosecution can follow.
The Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive (2006/66/EC) was brought into effect on 6th September 2006. This was due to be transposed into UK law by 26th September 2008. A range of batteries are included. Typically, these would include; A, AAA, C and D cells, mobile phone and laptop batteries and can be single use or rechargeable.
The legislation has been introduced to prevent vast quantities of batteries being land-filled and to encourage recovery and recycling. My own company, which operates a national waste management service, will now no longer accept these types of batteries as normal workshop waste. We have introduced dedicated containers so that we and our customers can conform to requirements already agreed and those yet to become UK law.
It is, therefore, most important to take environmental responsibilities seriously and ensure that you are fully compliant. With all the advice on offer, there really can be no defence of saying; "I didn't know!"
If you wash machinery, a dedicated washpad is what is required. This will contain all washings and direct them to a suitable facility, i.e a washpad recycling system, separator (interceptor) or effluent tank. A recycling system has the great advantages of saving water and, because water is biologically recycled, saves on the cost of emptying effluent tanks and separators.
Do remember also that washdown separators can only be connected to a foul sewer ,which usually is not available to most greenkeeping operations. A certificate to discharge from the EA would be required otherwise, and I personally know of no cases where this has been granted for this type of wash-off.
There probably has not been a better time to invest in a proper washpad facility.
Course Care is one company taking their environmental responsibilities seriously, offering water saving products. They have recently launched their latest ClearWater recycling system with improved specifications, greater water capacity and no price increase! ClearWater systems have been officially approved by the government backed Water Technology List scheme (WTL) too, and the company licensed to use the logo.
For those keen to promote their environmental and water saving credentials further, a range of rainwater harvesting and other water saving solutions are available. Course Care has a new website; www.separatorsplus.com dedicated to such technologies.
David Mears, Joint Managing Director, Highspeed - Course Care.
Tel. 0845 600 3572
Websites: www.course-care.co.uk, www.waste-away.org & www.separatorsplus.com