Common Construction Site Water Pollutants and How to Treat Them
Construction sites are a common source of water pollution. The day-to-day activities on the site will almost always involve chemicals, paint, or waste that is discharged into the surrounding environment after use.
It is important that construction workers are careful to only release clean water into the environment and that they improve the ways that they handle harmful waste. Water contamination must be kept to a minimum. This article will guide you through the most common construction site water pollutants and how to treat them so that you can ensure a safe working environment.
Silt and Discoloured Water
Silt is a solid element, similar to dust, that is easily transported in water. Silt-water mainly occurs when a construction site strips the topsoil off of a plot. This topsoil is the sturdy layer that protects the layers that are underneath from running. When the topsoil is taken away, there is no barrier to stop the soil from running, and soil particles can become suspended in the water. The effect of this is especially large when machinery is constantly churning up the ground.
High pH Water
A high pH indicates that water is alkaline, which is incredibly harmful if digested by humans or aquatic life. A construction site can contribute to the high pH of water by using concrete wash, which has a pH of 12. This is equivalent to oven cleaner, so it should not be ingested. It is common to see concrete being washed out in leaky tips that present a very high risk to the environment.
Hydrocarbons And Heavy Metals
Hydrocarbons are mostly used on construction sites in the form of petrol. Petrol can contaminate water by spilling or leaking from pipes. It is then absorbed into the land and eventually ends up in the water. Metals can also be spilt from containers or dropped during transport. If metals end up in aquatic habitats, they can be very harmful to wildlife that may accidentally ingest them through the water that they drink.
How To Treat Water Pollutants
Monitor Your Discharge
The first step is to monitor any water being discharged into the environment. Regular checks or continual remote monitoring will tell you when you need to take action and what kind of action is required.
Contain Your Discharge
The simplest form of pollution control is to store any contaminated water, which can then be transported off site or made safe to dispose in a watercourse. Installing a valve means you can stop discharge If you detect clean water suddenly becoming polluted.
If the volume of water is too large it will become impractical and uneconomical to store contaminated water, it will need to be treated on site.
Treating Or Filtering The Water
Treating solids in water depends on the type of solids and the flow rate required (how fast you want to discharge it). For rapidly settling solids and where ‘visually’ clear water isn’t the priority, a basic settlement tank is suitable. If you require visually clean water, additional chemicals may be required to help achieve this. For larger volumes and to achieve visually clean water, lamella clarifier tanks are used in conjunction with the treatment tanks and dosing units.
Concrete wash down or hydro demolition activity can use treatment tanks such to treat the water. These use CO2 gas or acid to correct the pH. This is an automated process. Correcting pH can be very sensitive – it is important not to overdose which would cause the pH to imbalance to opposite extremes.
Removal of hydrocarbons and metals requires a careful evaluation of the situation, and combination of treatment tanks, skimmers or clarifiers used to suit.
EnviroHub from Atlantic Pumps
Founded on our client’s feedback, EnviroHub is dedicated to implementing sound, sensible practices for permanent and temporary water management on sites, that reduce risk and protect our client’s reputation.
We understand the day-to-day realities our customers face at site level, whilst also factoring in their company corporate aims and objectives. We bring these two strands together in proven, cost effective and sustainable solutions.
Each requirement has its own unique challenges, that’s why we are on your journey from initial concept through to ongoing maintenance and support.
The EnviroHub is designed and manufactured by Atlantic Pumps and includes a range of treatment tanks and a remote monitoring solution.
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