Cost-cutting exercises have led some firms to overlook jobs such as emptying oily water interceptors. The oily run-off from onsite vehicle washing facilities is classified as hazardous waste and firms have a duty of care to minimise the risk of it polluting surrounding land, watercourses or sewage treatment works, warns the Cleansing Service Group(CSG).
Failure to maintain interceptors on a regular basis significantly increases the risk of overflow, and can be classed as negligence if environmental contamination occurs.
CSG’s environmental consultant, Ian Carnell, cautions vehicle hire site managers to avoid an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to their interceptors: “Pollution from hazardous waste is a serious offence, even if it happens accidentally. The ‘polluter pays’ principle means it can lead to significant repercussions for the responsible party, as well as for the environment. Besides facing financial penalties and remediation costs, there is the risk of long-term brand damage caused by any negative publicity.”
Routine clearance of gullies around facilities is another area that CSG has seen neglected as firms seek to reduce their outgoings. Carnell advises that this is a classic case of false economy, as the damage and disruption caused by flooding due to blocked gullies can lead to reduced productivity and costly clean-up operations.
“Like all businesses, vehicle hire firms need to make cutbacks where they can at the moment,” Carnell concedes. “However, it is essential not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Disregarding site maintenance might save a few pounds in the short term, but interceptor overflow or flooding caused by blocked gullies could wreak havoc with business operations in the future.”