The UK Environment Agency has turned to a remote controlled drone to photograph, video waste sites in Manchester and also to detect elevated heat sources within the waste piles.
“Fires at waste sites are of increasing concern, particularly around bonfire night. There is always a risk of pollution to watercourses and the local environment,” commented Gordon Whitaker, environment manager.
The EA explained that as waste degrades high temperatures can be created, and the radio-controlled aircraft will identify those areas within the piles which are at a higher risk of self-igniting and have the potential to cause a fire.
The Agency regulates waste sites, issuing permits that detail the conditions they must operate within to ensure the protection of the environment, whilst working with the fire service to identify high-risk fire sites to ensure that waste is handled safely.
Don’t burn your hazardous waste!
On the subject of fire Whitaker also took the opportunity to urge the pubic not burn their waste during bonfire night celebrations.
“Everyone who disposes of waste has a duty of care to ensure their waste is handled appropriately,” he said. “If you don’t dispose of your waste correctly you risk being prosecuted and fined. If you run a business or other organisation this could seriously damage your reputation.”
“We are also reminding people about the types of materials that are safe to burn,” continued Whitaker. “Small amounts of paper, leaves, wood and cardboard are all fine. However, treated wood, tyres, plastic, rubber and oil can pose serious risks to health and the environment.
“Many people don’t consider the implications of dumping illegal waste on their bonfire, so it is essential that it remains secure,” he concluded.
Cutting the Risk of Landfill Fires
With the average landfill site having a 60% statistical risk of fire each year, it's critical that operators have an emergency plan in place. So if disaster strikes, just how do you cut your losses?
Fire Detection: Tracking the Source
For waste and recycling companies, the risk of fire is very real. But the danger can be mitigated with the use infrared detection technology, backed up by automated and targeted fire prevention systems.
The UKs Environmental Services Association has launched a consultation on its recently published Draft Fire Control Guidance for waste and recycling facilities.