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Why Contact the Sewer Provider in the Event of Pollutant Discharge?

Drains and the sewers are to many people a means of disposing any sort of waste liquid, believing that once it enters it has gone forever and no longer has anything to do with them. They are of the mindset that because it is a facility for the disposal of liquids that any sort of liquid waste can be tipped down the drain and forgotten about, as it will be up to someone else to do the necessary in terms of treating it.

The reality is that certain types of liquid substances can cause severe damage to the environment and to the health and safety of all living creatures - including human beings - and as such people need to be aware of this potential. This largely comes about through training, whether it is the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate course or a similar environmental training session which makes attendees aware of the potential devastating impact they can have upon the environment if they were to do (or not do) a certain action.

Even though drains, sewerage systems and treatment plants are designed to accommodate liquid which would cause illness and be harmful to health if ingested, there will still be certain hazardous substances which can be dangerous even after passing through the treatment plant, and can cause death and ill-health to animal and plant life if it were to somehow get into the land and groundwater. In this scenario it can make water toxic for fish and other marine creatures, and cause death or ill-health to animals which drink the water or plants whose roots take it up.

The potential for catastrophic consequences are therefore high, and as such if a company becomes aware of particularly hazardous liquids being disposed of into the drains then it needs to call the sewer provider or local environmental agency and make them aware, as certain containment steps may need to be enacted quickly to limit the impact from any such incident. It may not be safe for employees to attempt any sort of clean-up of liquids which have not gone down the drain, certainly at least before a professional assessment of the risk and evaluation of the situation, as this could jeopardise the health and safety of these individuals by having them encounter hazardous substances.

Different countries and jurisdictions will have varying legislation and regulations regarding which substances and in what quantities can be disposed of into the sewer system. Managers need to be aware of these limits, and ensure that employees have been suitably trained so that they are knowledgeable about what can and cannot be disposed of in this manner. A failure to do so can not only mean that habitats can be destroyed and plants and animals suffer, but can also result in crippling fines for the company and possibly even imprisonment for managers in extremely severe cases.

Related Course

Please see below for more information on the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate:

NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate, or NEBOSH National Certificate in Environmental Management to give it its full title, is an environmental health and safety course which is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who are responsible for managing environmental issues at their workplace.

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate qualification focuses on UK law, so is really only suitable for those who are based and operate within the UK.

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