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Spill prevention is an important part of process safety management. In parallel, Solvay has to manage historical soil and groundwater contamination. Such environmental legacies must be managed and remediated to protect health and the environment at an acceptable cost.

The objectives are to:

  • Prevent the unintentional release of chemicals into the air, water, and soil;
  • Characterize the nature and extent of soil and groundwater contamination;
  • Manage the impact of soil and groundwater contamination in agreement with regulatory agencies.

Follow-up of incidents with environmental consequences

No High or Catastrophic severity incidents were reported for 2017, meaning there was no accidental event with long-term damage off site for the environment.

Process incidents with environmental consequences are being monitored and classified according to several criteria: quantity of material spilled, consequences on site or off site, damage to the immediate vicinity, fish kills, and severity (medium, high, and catastrophic).

In 2017, 59 incidents with environmental consequences were reported, and among those, 27 process were associated with releases above operating limits. The Group has followed up on each incident to ensure adequate actions are taken to avoid recurrence.

 

 

2017

 

2016

Number of medium-severity incidents with environmental consequences

 

59

 

40

of which those with operating permit exceedance

 

27

 

26

Remediating soils after spills

Solvay manages soil contamination and related environmental financial provisions with a long-term vision. Assessing soil conditions is a key step in characterizing contamination and, if needed, defining the most appropriate treatments in case of soil contamination. Whenever concerned, a sites is investigated. For existing soil contaminations resulting from own activities or from acquired activities, management control and remediation projects are implemented on a site-specific basis (legal and technical context). Solvay’s soil management is in line with the most recent developments in this area.

Innovative remediation approaches

Identifying new remediation technologies and improving existing ones is an ongoing activity. A project has just started to improve the efficiency of nanoparticles of iron introduced into the soil to remediate chlorinated compounds, hence improving the economical balance of the technology. This project is a follow-up of the Nanorem EU-funded project and is subsidised by the Czech Republic.