What Your Business Needs to Know About Environmental Remediation
It’s easy to take the environment for granted, but that’s not what you should do if you’re in business. The truth is that the environment can be a huge liability for any company.
That’s why every business owner should know what environmental remediation entails. That way, they can accordingly plan when accidents occur, or someone discovers pollutants unexpectedly.
What Is Environmental Remediation?
Environmental remediation is the process of cleaning up and restoring a polluted environment. This process typically involves removing or filtering pollutants such as soil or water decontamination, groundwater treatment, air scrubbers and generators to capture contaminants from smokestacks and other emissions.
The government requires environmental remediation by law if companies are guilty of contaminating the environment to rectify the situation. However, the process requires professionals in ecological remediation, as it can be a large-scale effort.
These are the three types of situations that can arise:
- Natural disasters — such as an oil spill or chemical fire.
- Pollution from a nearby business or industry — such as runoff from a manufacturing facility.
- An accident at your company’s facility that results in pollution
With that in mind, here are several things your business should know about environmental remediation.
1. Remediation Technologies Vary Based On the Contamination Type
Remediation technologies vary based on the type of contamination that occurred and on its severity. For example, a small dry cleaning facility with a leaking underground storage tank might use excavation to remove contaminated soil and pump out the remaining liquid.
A medium-sized office building with asbestos in its walls may require abatement or demolition, followed by encapsulation or removal of material containing asbestos.
In larger facilities with multiple environmental issues, contractors can use a combination of technologies to handle everything at once.
2. Prepare by Knowing What Options Are Available to You
The first step in preparing for environmental remediation is creating an emergency plan. That should be part of your organization’s standard operating procedures and spell out exactly how to handle any situation.
It’s also important to consider what cleanup methods are available and which are most appropriate for each situation. Several approaches are available, depending on whether someone is injured and the amount of damage.
The following are the most common types of remediation:
- Remediation by removal.
- Remediation by stabilization or relocation.
- Excavation and disposal to a hazardous waste landfill or incinerator.
Know the risk associated with each type of remediation. That way, you can make an informed decision about which would be best for your business.
3. Testing Must Occur Before Remediation Takes Place
Before any remediation takes place, testing must occur to determine what type of contamination is present — and to what degree it has been distributed into the environment. Testing is vital for ensuring you can devise a plan to address all areas affected by the contamination effectively.
It’s also necessary to determine how much substance you must remove from an area. You need to know how much contamination there is to be able to properly develop a cleanup plan or estimate the cost of the project.
Finally, testing provides information on the contaminated material’s location. That way, you can remove it efficiently without having too much waste created during removal efforts.
4. Environmental Remediation Is Likely To Occur at Some Point
No matter what business you’re in, your company will likely have to deal with environmental remediation at some point. As mentioned before, ecological cleanup can be a complex and costly endeavor. Part of that is because the post-cleanup process can take approximately two to three years for monitoring needs.
Therefore, businesses and organizations need to prepare for the possibility that they might need to hire an environmental consultant.
5. Learn More About Environmental Remediation Before It Becomes an Issue
Your business may not seem directly connected to the environment, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it.
The truth is, if your company’s location is in an area where contamination or waste disposal problems occurred in the past — and many of them are — you could be at risk of dealing with environmental remediation. Therefore, you need to know what this means and how to avoid it.
If you need to become more familiar with environmental remediation, now would be a good time to learn more about this complicated subject matter.
6. Not Every Business Must Adhere to Environmental Remediation
Not all businesses have to comply with environmental remediation. However, many still need to adhere to its requirements.
The top example is a company operating in an area with a spill or other contamination. The law requires these businesses to clean any spillage or face penalties.
Another example is any business with equipment that produces pollutants or toxic waste. This includes manufacturing plants, refineries or any place that uses large amounts of chemicals.
Businesses that are exempt from environmental remediation requirements include the following:
- Those with a low risk for pollution and contamination
- Businesses that don’t use chemicals or toxic materials
- Companies that don’t have multiple locations or facilities spread throughout the city or state
Ensure Your Business Remains Compliant
As you can see, the environment is an important issue that affects everyone. It’s not something to take lightly, and the companies that take it seriously will be the ones who succeed over time.
You don’t have to spend much money on environmental remediation services. But ensure you’re getting good advice from qualified professionals. That way, your company stays compliant with state regulations.