New regulations governing the disposal of hazardous waste are now being implemented, with tolerance of much lower concentrations than were previously accepted.
The regulations were published in 2013 and came into effect in August this year. They require timber treaters, and all other producers of hazardous waste, to submit samples to Vissershok, which does an on-site analysis and sends a sample to an off-site laboratory for a more sophisticated analysis.
The certification you are given after this analysis is valid for five years. Under the old regulations, samples had to be submitted for each waste consignment.
A flood of submissions has resulted in a huge backlog at the off-site laboratory. To address this backlog, Vissershok is now sending samples to a laboratory in the United Kingdom, which is returning results within a few weeks.
“We are all being forced to operate in an environmentally friendly way”
Waste is being given a rating of zero, one, two or three, depending on its concentrations. A zero rating indicates the highest levels and would result in Vissershok turning away your waste until it has been treated to improve its rating. After this treatment, you would have to resubmit a sample for a second round of analysis.
Dolphin Bay is working on a process to treat zero-rated waste.
To avoid the possibility of a zero-rating, treaters could ask Dolphin Bay to analyse their waste before sending a sample to Vissershok (see previous story). The analysis would determine whether you need to treat your waste.
In the long-term, the most sustainable and cost-effective approach will be to run a clean, well-maintained plant that generates very little, if any CCA waste, said Bertus.
There is no need to be anxious about the prospect of a zero-rating, he added.
“We believe this process, to treat zero-rated waste, will be more complex than the traditional addition of ferrous sulphate and lime, and that additional products will be needed. Dolphin Bay is perfectly suited for this research as we have the technical capability and staff with the necessary qualifications and experience.
“While plants do produce waste, you reduce this drastically, if not entirely by keeping your plant ship-shape,” he said. “If we, as a manufacturer of the CCA concentrate, have implemented the process of ensuring a clean plant, then we are confident you can do so too. Our recommendation is to work at this incrementally. Should you sign up to the Quality Pledge, the issue of waste generation and disposal will be addressed as part of the programme.”
If you have a paper trail proving your samples have been sent for testing, and that you are working to solve any problems, inspectors that may visit your plant are likely to be more lenient, he added.
The new regulations are part of the government’s “reduce, re-use, recycle” approach to waste. Waste containing CCA cannot be re-used or recycled, so reducing your waste generation is the only sustainable approach.
“We believe that, in future, the tolerances for concentrations of hazardous waste will become even lower, as the government is seeking to reduce and even eliminate the production of hazardous waste,” Bertus said. “We are all being forced to operate in an environmentally friendly way, and this is where Dolphin Bay plays a part. We understand the process of waste disposal, and are here to help you get your operations compliant.”
“The issue might seem rather confusing, but it need not be. Please contact one of our representatives so that we can provide clarity on the way forward.”