Siltbuster Puts Pollution Control within the Reach of Smaller Construction Sites

21 May 2014

Although our equipment is widely used on the largest construction projects comments Siltbuster Sales Manager, Kristian Downs, there are still dozens of smaller sites that are struggling to achieve today’s environmental compliance. Simply because they are not fully aware of the environment risk posed by construction activities, or have little or no money in their budget for environmental management. Having thought about the issues these smaller sites face we have developed a 4 point plan to make it easier for those operating on a tight budget to successfully manage their environmental risk.

The plan involves a combination of increasing awareness of the water pollution risk posed by even the smallest sites, the use of regional sales engineers to rapidly respond to client’s needs , the introduction of the “Site Essentials Range” of low cost water treatment solutions and the implementation of regional depots to reduce transport costs.

On most sites day to day responsibility for preventing water pollution is shouldered by the site engineer, who has to juggle this along with all the other responsibilities and pressures associated with getting a project completed on time and to budget. “Far too many employers assume that if you don’t learn about waste water treatment at college you will instead pick it up somehow. Companies cannot afford to be this casual about such an environmentally and legally important subject. “ says Mike Summersgill, President of CIWEM (Chartered Institute of Waste Management. “Companies that rely on their people learning on the job are treading a dangerous path as that often means learning by your mistakes – and we can’t afford to have mistakes when it comes to the disposal of waste water from construction sites.” The consequences of an incident unfortunately extends beyond the immediate cost of any imposed fine, potentially affecting a Company’s insurance premium, share value and eligibility for future work. To help site engineers better manage the risk of water pollution, Siltbuster Ltd has been running a series of CPD courses providing practical guidance on how to plan works to minimise water contamination and control any residual risk by implementing appropriate treatment solutions.

Core to making our water treatment technology available to the smaller sites, is the introduction of our “Site Essentials Range” comments Kristian. These are our baseline “no thrills” systems for handling silty water, recovering oil and treating high pH concrete wash water. On these application the customer only requires the equipment without the benefit of upfront sample testing in our laboratory and typically does not require the attendance of a commissioning engineer. To date we have included all these as part of standard hire package which has on occasion made the cost too expensive for the smaller sites operating with little or no environmental protection budget. By taking this element out of our “essential range” package we are able to offer contractors basic water treatment technology at a much more afford costs says Downs.

The second part of the strategy involves the provision of CPD courses providing practical advice on water treatment. Over the last 18 months over 200 construction related personnel have attended our 2 day pollution prevention course including the chairman of CIWEM! comments Siltbuster’s course leader Jonathan Goldsmith. The course provides a site staff with a basic understanding of everything they need to know, including a brief introduction to the law, planning the works to avoid water pollution, estimating the volume of water from rainfall events and groundwater inflow through to how best to handle silty water, oil contamination and high pH concrete washwater. Whilst the full course lasts two days, we are more than happy to provide one day courses covering items of particular interest to a client or lunch time seminars comments Jonathan. Mike Summergill, CIIWEM President said “The course not only gave information that could be useful for a company’s contractual or design work, but also ensured those on the course gained a wider feel for why water treatment is so important.” “it provides practical advice which people can go away and instantly apply – whether you have four or 40 years experience, there was still something new to learn.”

To further compliment this Siltbuster has established a network of regional field engineers to provide onsite advice on how best to minimise the risk of surface/ground water becoming contaminated by construction activities and treat any residual contamination water. By being regionally based they will be familiar with the local issues and are there to attend site at short notice to give clients immediate advice on water management and what measures would be appropriate to prevent the construction works potentially causing a pollution incident comments Kristian.

The last part of the plan involves the introduction of regional depots to minimise transport costs. Transport costs are always an issue when equipment has to be mobilised at short notice. Where time is not of the essence it is possible to move equipment around the country very cheaply on backloads. However where it is the only option is to mobilise the equipment using dedicated lorry. Consequently mobilisation costs to and from site can be significant. Siltbuster has for sometime recognised that this is an issue, particularly for the smaller sites, so to address it we are looking to establish a number of regional depots over the next few months comments Richard Coulton, Managing Director. That way we not only keep are mobilisation and demobilisation costs to a minimum, but also get the equipment to site more quickly.