Protect your business against pollutants carried in surface water runoff
Industrial stormwater is the term used to describe any surface water runoff that derives from an industrial business or facility.
The nature of industrial businesses is such that this runoff may carry with it a range of potentially damaging pollutants that, left untreated, could cause significant harm to the ecosystems of receiving bodies of water.
Failure to treat or capture stormwater pollution can expose industrial businesses to the risk of breaching environmental regulations, permits and other measures of compliance—which carry with them costly legal, financial and reputational penalties.
Improved stormwater treatment can help you avoid fines and reputational damage.
We'll test your stormwater to show you how.
What pollutants are found in industrial stormwater runoff?
In addition to the pollutants that are found in all built environments such as sand, grit and other solids (often referred to as TSS, or Total Suspended Solids), industrial businesses present potential sources of more hazardous pollutants.
Examples of industrial stormwater pollution include:
- Heavy metals (zinc, iron, lead, aluminium, mercury)
- Hydrocarbons (oil, gasoline)
- Biochemical, or BOD (nutrients, organic matter)
- Chemical, or COD (pesticides, solvents, polymers)
- Total suspended solids, or TSS (grit, sand, inorganic matter)
The exact nature of the pollution present in industrial surface water runoff will depend on the type of business and its operations. Businesses will benefit from undertaking a stormwater analysis to assess the nature of their pollution risk.
How is industrial stormwater pollution regulated?
In the United States, industrial facilities that discharge stormwater directly into the natural environment must obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In most cases these permits are issued by state environmental protection agencies under the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The NPDES permit imposes limits on what pollution can be discharged, and at what levels, and requires businesses to monitor and report on discharge.
If a facility breaches its discharge limits it may face financial and legal penalties, brought either by the EPA and equivalent state agencies or by the general public. Businesses that discharge into a sewer network may need an equivalent permit from the entity that manages the sewer system.
In the European Union, water quality is governed by the EU Water Framework Directive. Implemented at a national level by EU member states, it provides a legislative framework aimed at reducing pollution to and managing the quality of water, including groundwater. Industrial businesses that discharge liquid effluent or wastewater typically require an environmental permit.
How can we reduce industrial stormwater pollution?
The first way to reduce industrial stormwater pollution is by preventing pollutants from entering surface water. This may be achieved through better storage of potential pollutant materials, and through improved flood protection measures.
However, it’s unlikely that it will be possible to prevent all pollutants from entering surface water. Low-level leakage, contamination by people or vehicles or accidental spillages mean that there is always a risk that pollutants will be present on surfaces exposed to stormwater.
As it’s unlikely to be possible to remove all risk of surface water pollution, businesses should assume that there will be a persistent low level of discharge as well as an unavoidable possibility of unintended larger discharges. In order to protect the environment and mitigate against legal and financial penalties you should put in place safety measures to capture these pollutants.
Stormwater separators and filters provide a reliable and proven safety net that catches harmful pollutants before they are able to reach a sewer network or the natural environment. Incorporated into a stormwater treatment plan, they provide peace of mind to industrial facilities and can help to reduce surcharges and reduce the risk of penalties.
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