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Liquid Waste: Spill and Contamination Prevention

liquid waste spill and contamination prevention

Liquid waste refers to any unwanted, excess, or disposed of substances that presents itself in a liquid form. 

It can prove to be a logistical headache for companies that do not have the right liquid waste storage facilities. 

Companies that are used to dealing with solid waste will find that their skip bins and other storage vessels just don’t match up to the unique challenges of liquid substances. 

It’s important for any business handling liquid waste to understand its unique challenges.

The chief challenge when it comes to liquid waste is spills. Liquids, unfortunately, have a tendency to spill. This happens with even the most robust and advanced waste storage facilities. 

Spills can cause a negative impact on human health and the surrounding environment. Trained personnel, who specialise in emergency spill situations, must be called in order to prevent further contamination. 

The effects of contamination can be long lasting. They must be dealt with swifty, safely, and effectively. 

This blog unpacks the nature of liquid waste and what makes it so amicable to spill and contamination incidents. 

It also looks at what companies can do when the inevitable spill incident occurs, as well as what steps should be taken to prevent further and long-lasting contamination. 

What is Liquid Waste?

Liquid waste refers to any unwanted, excess, or disposed of substances that presents itself in a liquid form. 

Like all waste, it is formed when a product is no longer wanted. Sometimes this involves it being thrown in a bin. Sometimes this is a result of excess production. 

Whatever the cause of liquid waste, it must be dealt with. 

Unlike solid waste, liquid waste can be a nightmare to move. When last did you see someone have much success carrying water with their bare hands?

Trained waste management teams should be consulted whenever liquid waste needs to be transported or disposed of. This ensures that spill and contamination incidents are minimised. 

Examples of Liquid Waste

Some clear examples of liquid waste include a variety of items. These include.

  • Wastewater
  • Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) from kitchens
  • Used Oils for Cars and other Industrial Machinery
  • Sludges 
  • Household liquids like dishwashing soap
  • Liquid Chemicals 
  • Stored, cooled gas 
  • Dairy Waste
  • Liquid Industrial Waste
  • Liquid Sanitary Waste

Something to note here is that the different types of liquid waste differ in their degree of viscosity, meaning their degree of runniness. This creates a challenge for the different waste disposal systems. 

The Environmental Protection Agency states the “material must pass through a 0.45 micron filter at a pressure differential of 75 psi” in order to be defined as a liquid. What’s important to note here is that the more solid an item is, the less likely it is to be liquid. 

Simple, right? 

But there’s more to unpack in this seemingly over-simple discussion.

Two Types of Liquid Waste

It’s possible to differentiate between two types of liquid waste: organic and inorganic. Both have their differences. 

Organic Liquid Waste

Organic Liquid Waste refers to any liquid waste that does not contain unnatural and potentially hazardous chemicals. 

Inorganic Liquid Waste

Inorganic Liquid Waste refers to liquid substances that contains human-made chemicals and other substances. It has a much higher propensity to cause contamination than organic waste. 

Organic liquid waste is, generally, much safer. Non-destructive digging creates a sludge that is organic and unharmful to human health and the environment. So, even though waste is created, few steps are needed for it to be safe. 

Inorganic liquid waste can cause unwanted harm to human health and the environment. A good example of this would be oils. Oil spills can lead to soil contamination and other environmental disasters. 

Household Liquid Waste

Household liquid waste is a relatively large sub-section of liquid waste. Its size is due to the various ways in which it is formed. 

We can all probably name some household liquid waste. Think of cleaning detergents and liquid soaps. Think of sewage water, or even drinks spilled onto the floor. There is a large variety of liquid household waste to consider. 

A common type is fats, oils, and greases (FOG). They’re caused through improper disposal of food, cooking oil, and anything else that shouldn’t be thrown down the drain. 

Grease trap waste is another name for the liquid waste generated from FOG. Proper disposal ensures that grease traps do not get clogged with grease trap waste.

Drain Cleaners are a great way for a household to manage its FOG buildup.

But household liquid waste can also be found outside of the kitchen.

Septic Tanks and Liquid Waste

Septic tanks store large amounts of liquid waste, often below the ground and out-of-sight of everyday life. 

However, there comes a time when they need to be pumped out and cleaned. And many people don’t even want to think about septic waste!

The septic tank pump out process is a complex cleaning operation. Professional Waste Management Teams should be called in to ensure that it is done safely and properly.

The process creates different types of liquid waste, from the scum layer, sludge, grey water, and effluent. 

Septic tanks are a safe and secure method of storing unwanted sewage. As great as they are, be sure to have them maintained for safety and longevity of use. 

Find out about Cleanway’s Septic Tank Pump Out Services Here. 

What is Leachate?

Leachate is any water that has filtered through waste and itself becomes contaminated. 

Leachate is derived from ‘leaching’. It literally sucks and absorbs the hazardous chemicals and finds itself spreading it. 

leachate, liquid waste

Think of rainwater falling onto a landfill or dump site and pooling around it. This contaminated water is known as leachate and poses unique hazards. 

For one, the liquid can spread almost anywhere. It can seep into underground water or damaged underground infrastructure. 

Additionally, humans can come into contact with it. Some of them might not even know its origins if it has spread far from the landfill. 

Liquid Waste Management

Liquid waste management involves exactly what the name suggests. Businesses that generate liquid waste should hire experts to handle their liquid waste removal needs.

This is especially important for hazardous liquid waste. Such waste is harmful to both public health and the environment.

Liquid waste often requires special holding tanks that separate it from solid waste streams. These keep the liquids from being spilled.

In cases like sewage, the liquid wastes end up in licensed facilities like water treatment plants.

Spill and Contamination Prevention

A curious, at times exhausting, feature of liquid waste is its propensity to spill out of its storage and contaminate its surrounding environments.

Even though trained personnel help to prevent these occurrences, they are a situation that anyone who works with liquids should plan for, especially if they are dealing with hazardous waste.

Managing emergency spill scenarios requires an experienced team with the ability to act safely and effectively. They understand the potential dangers of hazardous liquid waste and the danger is poses to human health and the environment.

Their experience can be consulted for contamination prevention. However, the risk of contamination is never far when dealing with liquid waste.

A keen combination of contamination prevention and spill readiness is essential for any business, household, company or industry working with liquid waste.