All waste management operations at Augean are the subject of strict health and safety, environmental and quality procedures which are certified and regularly audited internally and by the British Standards Institution.
Augean has a safety strategy for the responsible management of wastes which includes the following measures:
Robust risk assessments
To understand and manage health, environmental and safety risks associated with any development, risk assessments are undertaken. These can be simple qualitative assessments or involve complex modelling. For a risk to occur there must be a source of risk or hazard, a receptor that could be affected and a means by which the hazard reaches the receptor. This is usually referred to as a pathway. A key purpose of the risk assessment is to anticipate what might happen in normal circumstances as well as to consider what might go wrong and show that unacceptable harm will not result even in that unlikely situation.
Risk assessments have been carried out for a wide range of different situations covering the operational lifetime of the landfill and the waste treatment and recovery facility, the post operational period for the landfill and in particular the long term future of the landfill when management of the site may no longer be in place.
The potential impacts on human health and the environment are examined through a series of assessments of different situations in which people or the environment might be affected. The situations assessed include normal operational activity as well as events or accidents that are considered unlikely to occur.
Waste pre-acceptance procedures
Before any waste is accepted for consignment to the site, Augean’s technical assessment team go through a series of pre-acceptance checks to confirm whether it is suitable for treatment or disposal and is included in the detailed list of permitted wastes that is in the Environmental Permit.
Strict processes verify that each waste received can be handled in a safe and suitable manner. Additionally, all waste producers wishing to consign LLW to the site need to demonstrate to the Environment Agency that disposal at ENRMF is the best available option for their specific waste stream by meeting the criteria for Best Available Technique (BAT), which includes consideration of whether the site is the nearest appropriate facility for the management of that waste. BAT is a requirement of the Environmental Permit of both the consignor (i.e. the producer) and the receiver (i.e. Augean) of the waste.
It is a requirement of legislation that the waste management network shall enable waste to be recovered or disposed of in one of the nearest appropriate installations, by means of the most appropriate methods and technologies, in order to ensure a high level of protection for the environment and public health. Inevitably, where the management measures are more specialist, as they are at the ENRMF, there will be fewer such facilities therefore each such facility will serve a wider area.
Augean’s laboratory services are used to check and assess the chemical and physical properties of various waste streams to ensure that it is compliant with the waste acceptance criteria (WAC). They also provide technical support to site operations by undertaking sampling and testing to monitor site compliance. By thoroughly understanding the composition of waste through analysis and monitoring they can minimise the impact of the waste that is managed on the wider environment. Only once the pre-acceptance checks are complete will waste be booked into the site for disposal. Strict processes verify that each waste received can be handled in a safe and suitable manner. Augean has invested in the latest technology and in highly trained chemists to provide clients as well as the company with accurate information. The technical data and acceptance records are shared with the Environment Agency.
Transport routes to the site already are strictly defined so that wastes will not travel through residential areas. The current routing agreement which requires HGV traffic accessing the site from the local highway network to approach and leave the site only from and to the north, on the A47, will remain in place. The transportation of potentially hazardous materials including hazardous waste and waste with low levels of radioactivity is strictly regulated by the Department of Transport. It is the responsibility of the carrier of the waste to ensure that the waste is transported in accordance with the relevant transport regulations. All waste that is brought into the site is sheeted to avoid dispersal of dust in line with good transportation practice. Due to the limited activity of the LLW imported to the site most wastes do not need special forms of packaging or shielding during transport other than to provide physical containment to avoid spillages, as for almost all types of waste.
Checks on arrival
When waste arrives at ENRMF the Consignment or Transfer Note for the waste load is inspected. Any waste that arrives at the site without being booked in is rejected or quarantined and the Environment Agency are informed. In the case of LLW, waste is received by specially trained Radiation Protection Supervisors who also check the physical condition of the consignment packages and the radioactivity emissions from the waste to make sure that they do not exceed expected levels.
Wastes destined for the treatment facility are transported to the treatment area for storage in contained areas prior to treatment. Hazardous waste received for the landfill is handled according to its composition. Construction waste that cannot be treated is taken directly to the landfill and covered daily. Waste streams such as asbestos are taken to specific areas of the landfill cell that are being worked and covered immediately. The location of wastes is recorded using GPS co-ordinates.
Once accepted LLW intended for landfill disposal will be taken and placed immediately in the landfill void and covered with suitable material. The location at which each consignment of waste is deposited also is recorded using GPS coordinates.