Editor, UBM

May 29, 2015

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COMAH sites warned not to underestimate flooding risks

Comah ImageIndustrial and commercial sites at higher risk from major accident hazards must avoid complacency by reviewing their protection from flood risk and water pollution as new regulations take effect on June 1, experts are warning.

Revised Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations come into force on June 1 and all sites will have 12 months to review their compliance. Sites that are vulnerable to flooding or pollution spills are strongly advised to review both their on-site protection and the risk assessment evidence they need to support it.

“Many companies underestimate the environmental damage and serious financial consequences that can arise from a flooding or pollution incident,” warns water pollution expert David Cole. “For sites operating under COMAH, the consequences could be particularly severe.

“Operators should have a thorough understanding of potential water pollution sources and pathways – especially where their site is located in a flood-prone area. Fire-fighting water can also cause serious environmental damage following an emergency response.

“Many firms are unknowingly risking water pollution incidents because they rely on inadequate containment systems, or because do not know how flood water or surface water runoff will be directed on and off their site,” says Cole, who is Water Pollution Manager with Hydro Consultancy. “A HAZOP-style assessment is a robust method of assessing and documenting on-site risks.”

Hydro has developed a new HAZOP-based technique using 2D computer modelling to assess and map pollution sources and pathways, together with potential flood risks. Following the study, operators will have a comprehensive, evidence-based assessment to support their regulatory compliance.

The Water Pollution Management service is provided by a team of civil engineers and consultants who bring together flood risk planning, 2D modelling and pollution containment knowledge to form a unique industry service for risk assessment and site protection. They are all recognised experts in their fields.

The service can also go on to test, design and implement a rapid-response containment system, which operators can be confident will work in an emergency.

The Hydro WPM Team has prepared a Water Pollution and Flood Risk Briefing Note which can be requested from the Hydro Consultancy website. Hydro is also offering COMAH and EPR sites a free initial on-site assessment of their water pollution and flood risk provision.


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