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Pollution prevention

Pollution prevention

There are several serious pollution incidents caused by raw material spills, noise and odour from food processing every year particularly among small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Types of pollution common in food and drink manufacturing processes
land contamination caused by oil spills
water contamination caused by effluent or raw materials entering into waterways
odour from abattoirs and food production operations
noise from manufacturing equipment
Simple measures to prevent pollution
store oil and raw materials in bunded areas away from surface water drains
understand which drains are for rainwater only and which for sewage
supervise deliveries to your site or premises

Incident response
You can often prevent a spill becoming a pollution incident by using effective incident response strategies:
have a pollution incident response procedure for dealing with spills
your accident management plan should consider all reasonable and forseeable risks including severe weather and flooding
make sure all staff know what to do in event of a spill
ensure that appropriate absorbent materials are available to mop up spills

Climate change is likely to make flood events increasingly frequent and severe. Take precautions to prevent your business causing pollution during a flood.
ensure potentially polluting substances cannot be swept away or damaged in a flood
locate electrical equipment and control systems above likely flood level
Further information on adapting to climate change

Environmental management systems
Following good practice guidelines can greatly reduce work placed accidents and makes good business sense. An EMS is the first step in helping you plan how to reduce the impact of your business on the environment and to comply with environmental legislation. Use our SME toolkit which we developed with the industry for small and medium sized food manufacturers.
Environmental management toolkit and pollution prevention guidance

Discharging water
If you plan to make a discharge to surface water (for example to a river, stream, estuary or the sea), or to groundwater (including via an infiltration system) and hold an environmental permit for an installation you may need to apply for a variation. If you don’t already hold a permit you may need to apply for a permit or an exemption. Check if this applies to you:

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