Where a fire on site is extinguished using water, there is a danger that the water used for fire-fighting may become contaminated by hazardous substances. A Fire water risk assessment is therefore necessary to determine whether there is such a danger and if so how firewater retention is to be effected.

If there is no firewater retention on site there may be a risk of contamination of surface water or groundwater. Firewater retention is usually by means of a firewater containment facilities such as lagoons or underground tanks. These are designed to hold the spent firewater until it can be disposed of safely. These firewater retention facilities will need to be assessed for integrity on a regular basis.

Firewater Risk Assessment

Many IPPC, IPC and IED licenses require that a Fire water Risk Assessment be carried out. This will review the substances stored on site, the likelihood of a fire occurring and the sensitivity of the receiving water. Based on the assessment, a determination can be made as to whether the risks are high enough to require Firewater Containment Facilities (sometimes referred to as firewater retention facilities).  Environmental Efficiency can undertake these risk assessments.

Reducing the need for firewater retention

It is important that these assessments are undertaken with an appreciation of the industrial processes involved as the construction of Fire Water Retention facilities can be expensive.

Environmental Efficiency can advise on options to reduce the need for Fire Water Retention. These may include storing all hazardous materials in just one part of the site, fire detection systems and other actions that will reduce the likelihood of a fire starting or taking hold.

Firewater retention capacity

If the risk assessment determines that fire water retention is required, the volume of the retention facility will need to be determined.  Environmental Efficiency can undertake the required calculation.

Integrity testing of firewater retention facilities

Firewater retention facilities will need to the inspected on a regular basis to ensure that they are water tight.  This is normally by means of a hydrostatic test over a number of days.  Where there are safety or practical reasons why a hydrostatic test cannot be carried out, then a visual inspection may be possible.

Environmental Efficiency has experience of firewater assessments and testing of such facilities for holders of IPC, IED and Waste Licences.