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Knowledge Bank:

What is Spill Mapping?

Historically spill risk has largely been conducted based on assumptions, relying on the intuitive ability of the assessor to predict what may happen during a pollution event. This most often provides the justification for businesses to invest in spill containment, ranging from reactive, low cost clean up products at one end of the scale to hundreds of thousands of pounds of bunding and civil works at the other extreme. 

There are issues at both ends of the scale. The challenge with a reactive approach to spill containment is whether the processes are responsive enough: are the staff trained to respond effectively in the event of a spill, fire or flood? Are they actually able to access the equipment in an emergency situation? At the other end of the scale the issue is about cost and disruption, and how that is justified. Is an assumption-based risk assessment strong enough justification to spend hundreds of thousands on costly and disruptive civil work? My experience is that it isn’t, and all too often the risk goes unaddressed. In cases where the investment is made the question becomes about how much investment is required. I see cases everyday where the work that is carried out goes beyond what is actually required, because they are addressing an assumed risk, rather than the actual risk. 

This is why we developed Spill Mapping at Penstock Solutions. Spill Mapping is a more scientific approach to this challenge. Spill Mapping is a computer-generated modelling process with  animations that map the potential flow from your site in the event of a spill, fire or flood. Spill mapping is an extremely valuable exercise for any business, from the most simple sites to companies managing complex spill containment and drainage systems. Spill Mapping delivers an evidence based animation of a pollution release, enabling businesses to develop an appropriate containment solution and invest in the right controls or methods to meet the actual risk precisely.  

How does spill mapping work?

Sandfield Penstock Solutions start by producing a detailed typographical and drainage model of your site to provide a highly accurate 3D site plan. This is fed into a computer mapping system, which then runs through the various disaster scenarios that could occur. This allows us to accurately demonstrate the predicted flow of spill, flood or fire water and any other contaminated liquids from your site. The likelihood of your contaminated materials reaching water courses, agriculture or other high-risk environments is taken into account and mapped against your sites existing drainage and containment systems. The spill animation will also show run off pathways, expected timelines and related break out points considering specified drainage and closure devices. This spill animation is then available to the customer and all stakeholders to see clearly the actual risk, empowering them to make informed decisions about the investment required to mitigate that risk.

How can your company act on Spill Map results?

Spill Mapping allows our customers to accurately evidence the outcomes of various disaster scenarios for their specific site considering site materials and firewater. With this information a cost effective containment policy can be implemented, conforming to your ISO 14001 Certification and the requirements of The Environment Agency. Only the required amount of containment valves, bunding and other containment systems are proposed, and no more. This approach has proven to deliver huge cost and disruption savings over both existing and proposed water pollution containment systems. 

The most immediate benefit of Spill Mapping is that stakeholders, authorities, including The Environment Agency, and insurers can be assured that disaster containment has been modelled and an effective risk assessment conducted. Most businesses still fail to understand that a pollution release into the environment is not likely to be insured without a specific Environmental Impairment Liability policy, for a policy of this type to be effective it is important that your insurers know that the systems you have implemented are likely to work in the event of a claim. 

We are currently having the most success for our customers by Spill Mapping their sites and understanding what might actually happen in the event of a spill, fire or flood. Understanding the actual risk allows us to mitigate for precisely that risk and no more. That enables us to leverage their existing infrastructure including roads, kerbs, fencing and drainage networks before implementing only the necessary number of purpose designed, remotely powered and controlled, spill containment valves.

The result is a failsafe, compliant containment system only without the enormous costs and disruption of building hundreds of metres of walls; and did we mention that this has saved some of our customers hundreds of thousands of pounds?

If spill containment and CIRIA736 compliance is currently a consideration for you please do not hesitate to call 0330 223 4372 or email us, we will be very happy to discuss our solutions with you. 

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