Businesses that process, manage and dispose of liquid waste are bound by strict regulations. These rules have been enacted to prevent pollution and water contamination, as well as ensure harmful chemicals do not pose risks for explosion or fire.
For businesses, it’s imperative to follow liquid waste disposal regulations. Mishandling of waste can lead to contamination and pollution – PR crises for any business – as well as a variety of legal ramifications. Hefty fines may also accompany improper liquid waste management, as well as loss of revenue. To avoid these possible negative impacts, businesses must take steps to ensure their liquid waste processing equipment and handling protocols ensure waste is properly handled.
Types of Liquid Waste and Potential Negative Impacts
Businesses produce a variety of liquid wastes, including hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Types of waste include chemical liquids – like solvents, fertilizers and paints – which are often hazardous and produced in large quantities. Equipment used to store and process this material, including piping and storage tanks, should be regularly serviced and inspected.
The impacts of improper disposal are both financial and environmental, and most frequently, the impacts fall into both categories. For example, a business would have to pay for clean-up of a liquid waste spill and may potentially lose business. A few examples of environmental impacts include:
- Surface Water Pollution: Liquid waste has the ability to alter water’s chemical composition. It can happen slowly – i.e. a slow leak at a chemicals processing plant – or all at once from a large-scale oil spill. In turn, drinking water can be contaminated, and aquatic ecosystems can be disrupted.
- Soil Contamination: Liquid waste can quickly seep into the earth. This pollution can cause harm to plants growing in the soil, as well as to animals or people who consume foods that were created in contaminated soil.
- Air Pollution: Although air pollution is more commonly associated with dust, gas and fine particle contamination, liquid wastes can also impact air quality. For example, foul smells are common with liquid waste pollution, particularly with sewage systems.
Economic Impacts of Improper Waste Handling
In addition to environmental impacts, improper waste water processing can cause a variety of economic impacts. This can include problems specifically for businesses – like fines and loss of revenue – as well as economic ramifications for the communities they operate in. A few examples include:
- Municipal Impacts: Large-scale liquid waste contamination – whether water, air or land pollution – negatively impacts communities. Properties values may be affected, a problem for both businesses and homeowners.
- Fines and Clean-Up Costs: Different towns and municipalities have levy fines on businesses that improperly dispose of waste. Typically, these can grow exponentially after a minor first-offense infraction. Additionally, the potential clean-up costs of a large-scale liquid waste pollution can hurt businesses economically.
When businesses are the source of pollution in a community, this can cause a potential PR disaster and reflects poorly on your company. Some customers may no longer want to do business with an organisation with an OK environmental record.