What businesses should know about solvent storage legislation

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Given the increasing environmental concerns, UK legislation is constantly being adapted so as to reflect eco-friendly policies and encourage sustainable development. Having been classified as one of the most polluted states in the European Union, UK is under considerable pressure, which means that laws change quite often and become more and more drastic. On the one hand, this greatly benefits the environment and reduces the amount of air and water pollution. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for businesses to keep up, which means that many industries might still be using harmful products without even being aware of it. Solvents and washing machines are a particularly sensitive topic in the UK and it is estimated that a considerable number of business owners look for solvents and small parts washer for sale without considering their environmental impact.

What businesses should know about solvent storage legislation

Solvent legislation is necessary because it regulates the way in which companies should handle and dispose of these organic solutions without damaging the quality of groundwater or aquatic life. One of the pieces of legislation concerning solvents is the Groundwater Regulations of 1998, which is addressed to any business that uses solvents. There is also the Water Resources Act of 1991, whose aim is to prevent water contamination. In general, these two acts and all the other relevant pieces of legislation surrounding groundwater protection provide clear guidelines on what type of solvents should be used and how they should be disposed of without having a negative impact on the environment. All business owners should be aware of the content of this legislation and take active measures to utilise only eco-friendly solvents and washers. Failing to do may result not only in environmental damage, but also in fines and legal measures.


Ideally, business owners should only invest in safe, eco-friendly solvents. Nowadays, this is much easier to do, because information on current legislation is freely available and many reliable solvent manufacturers can be reached online. However, there are still cases when purchasing 100% eco-friendly substances is impossible or unpractical. In such cases, mangers need to make sure they respect several rules concerning the transportation, storage, use and disposal of potentially hazardous products. For example, the site where solvents are stored should have very good drains and pipes and the floors should be impermeable, so as to prevent contamination. In addition, leak detection systems should be implemented and all storage areas should be marked clearly.


Last, but not least, business owners are strongly advised to assess solvent quality and make sure the supplier operates in accordance with the latest environmental safety regulations. If they cannot accurately assess damage caused by solvents, then they can always hire a professional company for auditing. Since many accidents occur as a result of human error, it is every manager’s responsibility to provide training and reduce accident risk and establish emergency protocols. Extensive information regarding solvent use is always available, whether you choose to go to your local Environment Agency office or contact professional contractors.