Leaks and Spills

Tank with Corrosion Hole

We’ve recently started the first phase of our latest remediation project: the redevelopment of a former petrol station site located in a highly environmentally sensitive location.
Stage one of our work comprised identifying and removing the source of the contamination. As you can see, we are pretty confident that we found the root-cause , although we have to wonder how the former site operator didn’t know something was wrong with this tank.
We’re currently working to design and integrate our groundwater treatment system with the construction work to ensure that there are no delays to the redevelopment.

Emergency Response – Filling Station

We were recently contacted following a spillage of several hundred litres of diesel by a customer at a filling station in Northamptonshire. The diesel had entered the site’s drainage system, which ultimately discharged into a nearby area of wetlands.

We were on-site and our spill-response trailer within two hours of receiving the first call. We liaised with site staff, the Fire Brigade, tanker service contractors and the Environment Agency and co-ordinated thesubsequent clean-up, preventing any of the fuel reaching the wetland.

We subsequently collected soil and groundwater samples which were analysed by our in-house UKAS and MCerts accreditted laboratory, with results reported back to our client within 24 hours.

For more information about the emergency response services we offer, please contact James Edley – Tel: 01296 739412


Tesco Fined £8 million for Leak from Filling Station

Langwood Brook

The latest prosecution by the Environment Agency of a filling station operator has resulted in a record fine of £8 million. The Environment Agency’s investigation found the leak resulted from the operator’s failure to address a known issue with the fuel delivery system and an inadequate alarm system. It was compounded by “poor” emergency procedures. The leak affected local residents and local watercourses, with leaked fuel entering the Langwood Brook resulting in fish kill. County councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The fact the leak was allowed to continue for more than 24 hours undoubtedly contributed to a risk of harm to people living and working nearby, as well as emergency services attending the incident.”

We believe that this case marks a change in approach from the Environment Agency, with a focus on prosecution under health and safety legislation rather than the available environmental regulations. The resulting fine of £8 million was significantly higher than fines levied for similar incidents prosecuted for polluting controlled waters.

Further details can be found here.

When Wetstock Monitoring Doesn’t Work

It has become increasingly common in recent years for filling station operators to rely on remote wetstock monitoring to detect possible leaks in their system. Tank and pump gauges are monitored remotely with sophisticated trend analysis used to detect abnormal behaviour. These systems can be very good, but they aren’t infallible.

Last year Subadra were retained to clean up contamination resulting from a leak at a filling station. Our treatment was completed successfully over the winter months and by mid-summer we had started post-remedial monitoring, with groundwater samples taken at monthly intervals from monitoring wells we had installed at the site.

Our consultants noticed some anomalous results appearing and, in best CSI fashion, our laboratory carried out a programme of forensic analysis. This was able to determine the ‘age’ of the contamination we were finding, telling us how long the leaked fuel had been in the ground. This confirmed that the wells were being contaminated from a new source.

The site’s real-time remote wetstock monitoring was checked but didn’t show a leak at the site. However, on our advice, the site operator had the tanks and lines pressure tested and this identified a steady slow leak from one of the pumps. Repairs were carried out limiting the volume of fuel lost into the ground.

The moral of the tale? Well, remote wetstiock monitoring is very good and we would certainly recommend it. But it’s not infallible. In those cases, forensic analysis can help identify leaks that wetstock monitoing misses.

If you’d like to know more about our forensic analysis service or any of the other services offered by our UKAS/MCerts accredited laboratory please contact Kate Clark.

Water, Water Everywhere

Treatment System in Operation

We are currently assisting in the treatment of construction wastewater from a filling station redevelopment in Dorset. Working with the primary works contractor, we provided a system that is capable of pumping and treating high volumes of hydrocarbon-contaminated water from deep excavations.

Our in house designed, modular treatment plant was efficiently dealt with two both suspended solids and hydrocarbon contamination, ensuring all the effluent met the site’s discharge licence conditions.

We installed and tested the system at an early stage of the works allowing us to collect and analyse samples in our UKAS accredited laboratory and use this information to assist in obtaining a temporary discharge license from the local sewerage undertaker. This meant the
contractor was able to discharge effluent direct to the foul sewer.

With the high costs and project delays associated with tankering hydrocarbon-contaminated wastewater from site our fully mobile and modular dewatering systems are a simple and cost effective way of dealing with dewatering effluent.

Project value: less than £10k

Black Gold?

Sadly not in this case. But what do you do if you’re digging a hole and it fills with a horrible mixture of black fuel and water? Call Subadra of course! We are able to guide you with all aspects of contaminated ground from waste disposal or how to minimise the impact on your development programme to how to discharge your planning conditions.
The site  in the photo is a filling station that is currently undergoing a full site redevelopment. When the contractor opened up the forecourt to remove the below ground fuel tanks the excavation filled with a heady mix of petrol and diesel that had accumulated over the years around the off-set fill points.
We were on-site within 2hours of being contacted. We collected water and soil samples from the excavation that were run through our in-house hydrocarbon laboratory. The results were issued within 48hours allowing the contractor to efficiently deal with the soil disposal and avoid costly delays to the works programme.

Subadra Appointed to Advise Retail Motor Industry Federation

Subadra have been appointed by the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) to provide specialist environmental advice to their members. The RMI represents the interests of petrol retailers and forecourt operators across the UK. They provide support on matters ranging from contaminated fuel problems to getting a better deal with your fuel supplier.
We join their technical support team in providing practical and sensible advise for all matters associated with fuel leaks, spills and ground contamination issues.
Whether you need guiding through the planning process during a site redevelopment or you suspect you may have had a fuel leak – we can help.
Please contact James Edley(Tel. 01296 739412 or email) for further information.