Firewater Risk Assessment: Mitigating Contamination and Ensuring Compliance

Need for firewater risk assessment

Where a fire on site is extinguished using water, there is a danger that the water used for firefighting may become contaminated. A Firewater Risk Assessment is therefore necessary to determine whether there is such a danger and, if so, how firewater retention is to be affected.

Environmental Efficiency can determine the extent of any risk of contaminated firewater runoff and then determine retention volumes required and how best to provide this.

The need for firewater retention can possibly be avoided by reducing material inventories, using alternative substances, or reducing the fire load. Environmental Efficiency can advise on this.

Integrity assessment of containment

Large pharmaceutical or process chemical sites will generally have a firewater retention lagoon. Smaller sites may have kerbed yards for retention. These retention facilities will need to the inspected on a regular basis to ensure that they are watertight. This is normally by means of a hydrostatic test or a visual inspection. Hydrostatic testing will be the default method in Ireland, a visual inspection will be the default method in the UK.

Environmental Efficiency has extensive experience of firewater assessments and testing of such facilities both in Ireland and the UK.

Relevant standards

ISO/TR 26368: 2012 Environmental damage limitation from fire-fighting run-off
HSG 176: The storage of flammable liquids in tanks (UK Health and Safety Executive, 1998)
EPA Guidance on Retention Requirements for Firewater Run-off

Firewater Retention

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