Water Pollution Prevention Procedures - Cement, concrete and grouts

Procedure for Control of Ground & Surface Water Pollution - Interpreted from Best Practice Guidelines in PPG1, PPG5 & PPG6

Cement, concrete and grouts are highly alkaline and corrosive and can cause serious pollution to the ground and watercourses. Water wildlife, such as invertebrates and fish, are very sensitive to changes in pH (acid/alkaline) levels. Whereas oil in water is easy to see, changes to pH are not, so pollution can occur for some time before the extent of damage to wildlife is noticed. Whether storing, making, mixing or using, take care with all works involving cement, concrete and grout.

You also need suitable arrangements to deal with the wash-out of concrete mixing plant, ready mix concrete lorries and tool and equipment washings to prevent pollution. Never allow washings or wastes to enter into any drain or surface waters.

Concrete and cement mixing should be:
  • sited on an impermeable designated area
  • at least 10 metres away from a watercourse or surface water drain, to reduce the risk of runoff entering a watercourse.
  • Surplus dry concrete, cement and grout should be used elsewhere on site if possible, or as inert rubble; if not, it will need to be disposed of off-site and transported using a registered waste carrier.
  • Equipment, batching and ready mix lorry washing and cleaning should be washed out on site into a designated area that has been designed to contain wet concrete / wash waters.
  • Wherever possible, excess concrete should be sent back to the batching plant. With design concrete this may not be possible, so you should build a designated area to allow the concrete to cure without polluting the ground or watercourses.
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