Holland and Associates Environmental Consultants’ advice to our clients regarding the environmental compliance of their plants was “a huge help”, those who signed up for the service have said.Dolphin Bay facilitated the visits by Ross Holland - who runs the environmental consultancy that we ourselves use, and in which we have complete trust - to eight of our clients’ plants in the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga over a week in June.Our aim was to facilitate a cost-effective service ahead of the expected visits by environmental inspectors, and to provide our clients with a safe space to discuss their concerns. The service corresponds with Principle 3 of our Quality Pledge, which addresses the need to ensure that a treatment plant safeguards the environment and complies with the relevant legislation.“Ross’ visit was very productive,” said Teunis Janson, owner of Bundu Pale. “He is a knowledgeable, but honest and straight-forward guy with good insights about what to change and where to start. He gave us good, sound advice. We now have a plan.“It was well worth the expense, and I would definitely recommend him to others.”“Thank you to Dolphin Bay for organising the visit, which was well worth the expense,” said Kim Harty, manager of Jetteson Timber Products. “Ross was a huge help. Thank you again!”Ross has put together a compliance checklist, based on the regulations for the operation of a timber treatment plant, for all those he visited, as well as a summary of his advice tailored for each plant.He said the visits were extremely positive, as “all the clients really wanted to understand the risks, and had seen the value of the practical advice he offered.”He was able to alert clients to risk areas they had not been aware of, he said. “If you see a site day in and day out, you might not see the things that an environmental professional would see.”It is important not to fall into a trap of false security if you have done an EIA , Ross said. “The fact that you’ve been through an EIA process before your plant was builtcould potentially place you at risk from a compliance perspective, because the authorisation comes with a 20-30 page document listing many conditions for building and operating a plant that must be complied with for authorisation to remain valid.“In addition to looking at general contamination risks at these plants, an inspector would be auditing them against the lengthy list of specific conditions attached to the environmental authorisation.”A compliance directive and / or fine could be issued in such cases, and in cases of extensive non-compliance, the environmental authorisation for such plants could be suspended, meaning that operations would be halted pending the resolution of the compliance problems, or even withdrawn.An inspector could visit your plant unannounced at any time. If you have had professional advice and are implementing a plan that is targeted at areas of greatest risk, the inspector is far more likely to apply a degree of discretion than if you have taken no action, Ross said. This proactive approach allows you to make changes over time in an efficient, cost-effective manner.On the other hand, if you have not taken any action and an inspector issues you with a compliance notice, you will be afforded very little time to comply. This approach will be far more stressful, and much more expensive, than taking early action.It should be noted, however, that any areas of non-compliance at the time of an official inspection would place a plant at risk.Ross was very impressed with the “high level of support” that Dolphin Bay offers our clients. “For example, the removal of hazardous waste from plants is a fantastic and far-sighted service that significantly reduces the compliance risks of those plants who have signed up for the service. Disposing of hazardous waste lawfully requires a lot of work but Dolphin Bay does it all, from helping the client to register as a generator of hazardous waste, all the way through to disposing of the waste properly and getting the necessary disposal certification and documentation.“In the event of a compliance inspection, all the client has to do is pull a file from their shelf showing the documentary proof of safe and lawful disposal. Having all the required paperwork easily on hand immediately creates a favourable impression in the event of a compliance audit."“I have never seen this level of service before,” he concluded.Bertus commended all our clients who took “early, responsible action” by making use of Ross’ services. “We are pleased that the visits were useful to our clients. Being proactive on environmental compliance will be of great benefit to any treatment plant in the long run,” he said.