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1

The Environment Agency (EA) are responsible for the following:

(a) Main drainage and pollution control relating to sewers. This function is exercised in
conjunction with the appropriate London Borough/City Corporation / water and sewerage
utilities.
(b) Pollution control over the River Thames and all its tributaries, watercourses and all other
open water sites in the Greater London area.
(c) Navigation control over the non-tidal River Thames upstream from Teddington lock.
(d) Flood control within the Greater London area, including the operation of flood barriers on
the River Thames and adjacent tidal creeks.

2

The Environment Agency should be informed of incidents involving the following. This will
normally be done by Brigade Control

(a) All hazardous materials, excluding gases, except where a water spray/fog is used to contain
or disperse a gas cloud e.g. chlorine or ammonia.
(b) Pesticides or fertilisers.
(c) Major incident is declared.
(d) Four pumps and/or two or more jets in use and/or high volume pumps (HVP) in use.
(e) Firefighting foam is used, excluding domestic fires.
(f) A’ controlled burn’ is being undertaken or considered.
(g) Flooding of property from watercourses.
(h) Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) and/or the use of mass
decontamination procedures.
(i) Radioactive materials.
(j) Hazardous fly-tipped waste.
(k) Hazardous waste absorbed by one grab pack or more.
(l) Illegal burning of waste or fires involving burning of waste (above domestic quantities)
(notification may originate from member of public and not involve a fire attendance).
(m) Environment Agency regulated sites e.g. Control of major accident hazards (COMAH),
landfills, scrap yards.
(n) An identified high risk site as locally agreed between the LFB and EA

3

Additionally the EA should be notified when it is confirmed that quantities of products involved
reach the following thresholds

Additionally the EA should be notified when it is confirmed that quantities of products involved
reach the following thresholds:
(a) 25 litres of oil or fuel.
(b) 25 litres or more of detergents e.g. washing powder, washing up liquid, shampoos, soaps,
car cleaning products, etc.
(c) 25 litres of disinfectants including household bleach, Dettol, etc.
(d) 25 litres of all types of paints and dyes.
(e) More than 25 litres of cooking oils, glycerine, alcohols.
(f) More than 25 litres of cutting lube or water soluble polymers.
(g) 250 litres of food products. Of particular concern are sauces, sugars, salt, syrups, milk,
cream, yogurt and vinegar
h) More than 250 litres of any beverage, including all soft drinks, beers, lagers, wines, spirits.
(i) More than 250 litres of other organic liquids, including blood, offal, farmyard slurries, firefighting foam, sewerage sludge, anti-freeze
(j) More than 500kg of sand, silt, cement, chalk, gypsum/plaster.

4

Incidents involving the tidal River Thames also require

POLA to be informed at threshold quantaties

5

Any material that is not naturally found in the environment is potentially a pollutant. Pollutants can
however be classified into three groups

• Eco toxic materials. Hazardous materials including acids, solvents, oils, dyes, poisons,
detergents, disinfectants, etc.
• Organic materials, milk, beer, orange juice, blood, cooking oil, firefighting foam etc.
• Inorganic solids, cement, silt, plaster, sand, chalk, etc.

6

Hiearchy of containment

(a) Stage 1 – contain at source.
(i) Seal a damaged container. Stem the flow from a damaged container, contain at source
by use of an over drum, close valves.
(b) Stage 2 – contain close to source.
(i) Use absorbent pads, booms.
(c) Stage 3 – containment on the surface.
(i) Use of poly boom, drain mats. Containment dam.
(d) Stage 4 – contain in the drainage system.
(i) Oil separators, penstocks, pollution control valves, pipe blockers.
(e) Stage 5 – contain in or on the watercourse.
(i) Oil absorbent booms, fence booms.

7

Each station is required to have one grab pack per pumping appliance and a reserve stock supplied by EA, what is in pack and reserve

Operational Reserve
One aide memoire One aide memoire
One tub of clay sealing putty. DAMMIT One tub of clay sealing putty. DAMMIT
One clay drain mat One clay drain mat
20 Blue oil absorbent pads 10 Blue oil absorbent pads
2 Blue oil absorbent booms One Blue oil absorbent booms
One 10m Polyboom One 10m Polyboom
2 Disposable bags and ties 2 Disposable bags and ties
One roll EA waste material tape One roll EA waste material tape
2 pairs disposable latex gloves (minimum) 2 pairs disposable latex gloves (minimum)

8

Large spill kit contains

• 30 x Clay drain mats.
• 50 x Disposal bags and ties.
• 10 x Wooden stakes (for use with fence booms). **
• 10 rolls EA waste material tape.
• Poly booms.
• Blue oil absorbent booms - Four 3m, and two 5m.
• Fence booms - various types. **
• Peristaltic pump and ancillary equipment. **
• 1 x 6000 litre expander tank. **
• 1 x Over drum. **
• 1 x inflatable drain blocker (envirovalve)

9

It is likely that pollution incidents will involve waste. In general, all absorbent materials and
equipment from grab packs or spill kits will be left in situ pending disposal by the responsible
person/appropriate authority. If the Brigade cleans up materials from the scene they must be
immediately bagged in the plastic bags supplied in the grab pack or spill kit and sealed using the
ties provided. EA waste material tape must be placed clearly around the disposal bags to identify
the contents as waste material for collection. It is not the responsibility of the fire service to
arrange for waste disposal.
It is recognised that at some incidents it is difficult to ascertain the responsible person or
authority, therefore the following guidance should be used to determine responsibility for
disposal

Location of incident Responsibility for disposal
Public footpath, public land or roadways Local Authority.
other than motorway or trunk road.

Motorway or trunk road. Highways Agency or its agent.
Private premises, land or vehicle. Land owner, site occupier or owner.
Main rivers non tidal. Environment Agency.
Main rivers tidal. The Port of London Authority.
Greater London Authority road network. Transport for London Street Management or its
agent.
(b) In addition to the above the EA may arr

10

The environmental permitting (England and Wales) regulations 2010. Section 40.

(i) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under regulation 38(1), (2) or (3) to
prove that the acts alleged to constitute the contravention were done in an emergency
in order to avoid danger to human health in a case where:
(c) The person took all such steps as were reasonably practicable in the circumstances for
minimising pollution; and
(d) Particulars of the acts were furnished to the regulator as soon as reasonably practicable after
they were done.

11

Following any use of the grab pack or large spill kit

the ‘environment pollution notification
form’ must be completed and emailed to the EA and HMEP team mailboxes using the button
at the bottom of the form

12

It is often difficult to decide what quantities of polluting products are likely to result in damage to
the environment. As a general rule, ICs should inform the EA when ‘above normal domestic
quantities’ of products are involved in incidents or enter drainage systems. Ideally, notification
that a pollutant or polluting activity is about to impact the environment should take place as early
as possible. The following are examples of situations when notification should be initiated by the
IC.

Seek agreement with the Environment Agency or water/sewerage undertaker before:
• Polluting materials are likely to, or have entered drains or a watercourse.
• Decontamination of personnel is about to take place.
• Before or when firefighting foam is deployed, excluding small car fires.
• Incidents are on or adjacent to watercourses.
• Stacked waste material such as tyres, fridges, etc. are involved in a fire.
• Before decontamination of operational equipment, unless in previously agreed areas.
This is not a definitive list and at times there may be incidents that do not fall into any precise
category and if any doubt exists the EA should always be contacted.