OK, so when someone says they’ve been skimming, it’s not usually a good thing. However, when it’s skimming fuel from a monitoring well on petrol station, that’s definitely beneficial.
We identified the fuel during a site audit, carried out in response to complaints about petrol odours in off-site (BT and Thames Water) service ducts. Contaminants often track/migrate through ducting and service trenches, leading away from the original source. In this case, our detective work was able to trace the source of the odours back to a fuel leak from the nearby filling station.
Our UKAS accreditted laboratory carried out forensic analysis of the recovered fuel in order to determine it’s age and composition, allowing us to further focus future infrastructure and ground investigation efforts on possible sources of the leak from the filling station.
Being able to seemlessly integrate both site investigation and laboratory testing in this way resulted in significant time and cost savings for our client.
If you’d like to know more about our unique approach to assesment of contaminated land, please contact James Edley.
Sometimes it’s easy to spot where contamination is on a site but all too often it lurks hidden beneath the surface. Fortunately we have a wide array of tools for finding the contamination without blowing the budget or digging up the whole site.
We’ve been working at a development site recently where the client knew there might be abandoned underground storage tanks present, but had no idea where they might be. Using ground probing radar (GPR) we were able to accurately locate the tanks. We then drilled boreholes around the tanks and analysed soil samples in our in house UKAS accredited laboratory, to confirm that the tanks had not contaminated the surrounding ground. This integrated approach, using GPR to focus the subsequent intrusive investigation resulted in a considerable cost saving for our client as well as minimising disruption to the site. If you’d like to discuss your site investigation requirements with us please contact James Edley or Steven Partridge.
We’re pleased to announce that 2021 was another hugely successful year for us. Turnover was up 50% and profits were up 600% from the previous year. This is a reflection of the hard work and dedication shown by all our staff. We are grateful to all our clients, suppliers and staff for their respective contributions to our success over the last year.
Well, in our case the answer is very safe indeed. We’ve just completed our annual HSE audit, carried out by an independent auditor on our clients’ behalf, and scored a record 93%.
The auditors praised PrismERP, the IT system we have developed over the last decade for both managing HSE and integrating it into every aspect of our operations. With further upgrades to PrismERP planned for the coming year, we are determined to get an even higher score next time round.
PrismERP is commercially available. If you’d like to know more about how it might help your organisation please contact Duncan Eastland.
At the heart of every quality or safety system (e.g. ISO 9001) is a commitment to continual improvement and, to be perfectly honest, we have always thought this is a bit of a nonsense. Putting aside any argument over ‘perfect’ being the enemy of ‘good enough’, any commitment to continual improvement implies that the service we offer today is deficient in some way and requires rectification. We think it would be far better to base a quality system on a commitment to periodic, critical review with improvement only when there is definite, tangible benefit. And it was the result of just such a review that prompted us to make an important ‘behind the scenes’ change in our laboratory.
Our laboratory instruments require a pure hydrogen supply in order to detect contaminants in concentrations as low as parts per billion. For the last 15 years, we have used hydrogen supplied in pressurised cylinders. But the cylinders represent a very significant risk in the event of a fire. In fact our local fire bridgade consider the risk of the cylinders exploding to be so high that, in the event of a fire, they would refuse to do anything other than evacuate the area and wait for the fire to run its course.
Our review highlighted this as the single, biggest risk facing our comapny. So, after researching alternative options, we have now switched our laboratory to using hydrogen which we generate on demand. This means we no longer store any hydrogen in bottles, making us all feel a lot safer. We think this is how quality or safety systems should work.
Ok, that claim may be stretching things a little, but our forensic analysis team have recently notched up a few notable successes. We were awarded a contract to treat petrol and diesel contamination in the soil and groundwater under a filling station. The site had a history of leaks, the most recent of which was six years ago. Since then one of our competitors had been trying (and failing) to clean the site up.
We were brought in to deal with the contamination once and for all. The first thing we did was to carry out some forensic analysis of the contamination using proprietary methods we have developed over the last 20 years. Our analysis indicated that there was an ongoing leak at the site, and was even able to pinpoint where on the site it was likely to be.
Our client commissioned precision tank and line testing which confirmed a slow leak under pump island 7 – just where we had predicted. The rate of leak – 0.29litres/hour – was actually below the precision testing threshold, meaning that the fuel lines passed the test and were certified as ‘not leaking’. However, this rate of leak would result in around 2,500litres of fuel entering the ground under the site each year – more than enough to cause serious contamination.
So the lessons learnt? Firstly, tank and line testing is very far from foolproof and fails to identify leaks that can cause serious environmental issues. Secondly, the timely use of forensic analysis can prevent significant time and money being wasted on ineffective remediation work.
Friday 12th June was a red letter day here at Subadra. For a little while now we’ve had a mysterious large box sat in a room on its own in our laboratory. As the weeks have passed, we’ve seen cables, pipes and tubes connected, forced ventilation and cooling added and finally an argon supply plumbed in. Then finally all was revealed as our new ICP was commissioned.
For those not familiar with laboratory acronyms, ICP stands for Inductively Coupled Plasma Instrument. We’ll be using this to analyse soil and water samples for metals. In addition it will be playing a key part in ensuring we continue to offer the fastest waste classification service (or WAC as its known) in the UK.
Actually, there is nothing mythical about Subadra being commissioned to install shallow monitoring wells at the Daedalus Airfield Development! We constructed several shallow wells over the course of two days using our Hollow Stem Auger drilling system.
Lee-on-Solent is known for its sand and a dense gravels which are more or less guaranteed to make drilling difficult. So to avoid this we used our powerful Comacchio drilling rig which ensure we reached the target depth at all the drilling locations with minimal disruption to the site. We then installed 50mm diameter wells to allow future groundwater sampling. All our materials were sourced locally to enable us to take the minimum of equipment and vehicles thus reducing our carbon footprint for the works.
We even had time to the collect soil samples for the Principal Contractor and get them
analysed for WAC by our in house lab facility. As a result of our prompt and efficient service the client retained us to carry out a more detailed geotechnical investigation at the site. No myth there then!
One of the things we like about our business is the sheer variety of enquiries that we receive. We’ve been to some fairly strange places and asked to do some fairly odd things, but when we were asked to carry out soil testing at a snail farm it was a first for us.
Unknown to us Aylesbury Escargots, the UK’s largest producer of Helix Aspersa/Gros Gris – otherwise known as edible snails – , is located just down the road from our offices. They have pioneered a ‘farm-to-fork’ approach to snail farming and now produce over 5 tonnes per year. We reckon their snails are more than a match for anything produced in the traditional French centre of escargot farming in Burgundy.
Now, if only we could make better wine than Burgundy as well…..
We’ve recently upgraded our laboratory’s facilities for waste classification (WAC) analysis. We already offer the fastest turnaround analysis in the UK, but we can now analyse a greater number of samples after installing our new soil tumbler. Designed and fabricated in-house, this allows us to simultaneously complete the leachate stage of the analysis on an additional 12 samples per day. These can either be samples supplied by our clients or samples taken by our technicians at clients’ sites.
If you’d like to know more about our WAC analysis or if you are a laboratory and would like to purchase a similar soil tumbler, then please contact Duncan Eastland – 01296 739431.