Emergencies Happen

What constitutes an emergency?  Managers may find themselves asking this question at one point or another in their careers.  Even though the busy hum of day-to-day operations might make it difficult to plan for ‘what if’ scenarios, emergency situations should be taken seriously.  Employers who strive for accident free workplaces through intensive training and maintenance still encounter them from time to time.  Weather events, equipment failures, vehicle wrecks, and other unforeseen events can still happen despite the best preparations.

When an accident does strike, it’s important to be able to take immediate action to prevent further damage and injuries.  A comprehensive emergency response plan gives employers an edge.  Employees will know beforehand how to respond to a given situation and have an easier time getting it under control.

Sometimes recovering from an accident requires resources that an organization doesn’t have.  Spills of chemicals or bio-hazardous substances require specialized training and gear to handle properly.  That’s where a company like Protect Environmental enters the scene.  Our highly trained teams are on call every hour of every day.  They can be dispatched to your site to contain and remove spilled materials when the risk to your employees is too high.

After the cleanup is completed, our team disposes of any waste materials generated.  Federal and state regulations require proper handling, transportation, and documentation of waste disposal activities.  Our professional staff ensure that wastes are received at licensed disposal facilities to keep your company in compliance with strict laws and further reduce your liability.

Don’t let a hazardous material spill cost your business valuable time and money: plan for whatever surprises the future holds.  You can make Protect part of your emergency response plan at no cost, so feel free to contact our office today.  We hope you’ll never have to call us for an emergency, but if you do, we’ll be ready to help you through it.

 

How Protect Boosts Your Spill Preparedness

Spills, by nature, are unpredictable.  Operations personnel don’t intend to have them.  Still, business owners and safety managers can make plans for what to do if a spill does occur.  There is a list of actions that need to be taken immediately after a spill to minimize damage and liability.  If employees on the ground aren’t prepared to take those actions, the consequences could be crushing.

Being prepared for a spill isn’t as difficult as it may seem.  By taking certain preemptive steps, you can make sure that everyone needed to respond to a spill is ready to jump into action when it happens.

The first step should be to include Protect Environmental Services in your spill response plan.  Here are some of the advantages of partnering with Protect.

  • Spill Kit Assistance – Pre-assembled spill kits are available for sale from many different distributors.  Kits can vary in size, capacity, and type of material they’re suited for. It’s important to research what is in the kit and consider how useful it would be in your given situations. If you store corrosives onsite, you would want a kit geared toward cleanup of acids or bases.  A kit on a large vehicle should have a containment pool that can slide under damaged fuel tanks to capture leaking fuel.  You can also build your own custom kits to suit your needs.  When you designate Protect Environmental as your emergency response contractor, we can help you figure out what your kits need and where to place them for maximum effect.
  • Spill Reporting – In Texas, spills over certain sizes of specific materials need to be reported to the State’s environmental regulatory agency, the TCEQ.  Failing to meet these reporting requirements can result in severe fines.  Knowing when and how to report can be complicated, but Protect Environmental offers comprehensive spill reporting to our clients.  We make the initial call and send the properly formatted final report within the State’s specified time-frame, removing that burden from companies that just want to get back to business as usual after a spill.
  • Around the Clock Support – Leaks and other accidents don’t keep regular hours.  That’s why Protect responds to emergency calls any hour of the day, any day of the year. When you partner with experts who are equipped to provide assistance when you need it, no matter when that is, you enhance your preparedness and minimize your spill-related costs and liability in the long run.
  • Qualified Cleanup Professionals – The staff at Protect are dedicated to getting the job done right.  That means that our teams have the training and know-how to respond to your spill in the safest, most cost efficient way possible.  We manage the cleanup operation from start to finish, and keep you informed each step of the way.  When it becomes necessary to call in additional resources from third parties, Protect only works with vendors who have the same commitment to safety and compliance that we do. 
  • Fair and Transparent Invoicing – The moment an emergency call comes into Protect, the paper trail begins.  We document all personnel, equipment, and other resources as they are utilized during a spill response.  Photographs are taken and logs are kept.  When your itemized invoice arrives, you can trust that all expenses incurred during the response are legitimate and fair.

For these reasons and more, you can count on us to help your company overcome the obstacles that HazMat spills put up, such as fines for non-compliance with cleanup and reporting regulations.

Let your employees know who to call when disaster strikes.  Stickers and cards with Protect Environmental’s contact information are available upon request.

 

The Protect Way

 

The world of environmental services can be a complicated place.  It encompasses areas of industry such as workplace chemical exposure levels, waste management, pollution control, emergency response, contingency planning, and site remediation.  Successful contractors have to be well versed in all these areas and more.  They also have to realize that each client is unique, and so are their environmental needs.

Since 1996, Protect Environmental Services has been dedicated to handling the needs of our clients in a safe, lawful, and cost effective manner.  There’s no mystery why Protect is a preferred contractor for state agencies like the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, along with countless municipalities and businesses.  Our professional and experienced staff take your needs seriously .  We know that delays, mistakes or miscalculations can cost our clients more than money; they can cost lives.

We take pride in doing the job right and communicating effectively with our clients to ensure they receive the best outcome possible.  Feel free to contact our office by phone or email to find out how Protect Environmental can improve your environmental services experience.

The Ever Changing World of Environmental Services

Like most industries, environmental services are constantly changing.  New regulations, emerging technologies, and evolving client demands mean that environmental contractors should always be adapting.   Additional methods for removing and remediating surface and soil contamination sometimes enter the market, but they aren’t universally applicable.  Each spill situation is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to handling chemical spills and waste disposal.

At Protect Environmental, we work with a wide variety of tools to get the job done, and utilize the equipment and methods that best fits the need.  Depending on what was spilled and where, the best equipment and methods could include recovery scrubbers, street sweepers, pressure washers, oil skimmers, front end loaders or vac trucks.

We put our clients’ needs first, and they count on us to find the methods that will solve their environmental problems economically and efficiently.  Once an emergency response call reaches our office, our staff ask for information about the spill.  We then quickly assess what needs to arrive on site, knowing that sending unnecessary equipment and personnel wastes time and adds expense to the cleanup.

Even with some advanced knowledge of what we’re walking into, emergency response situations can be complicated and dangerous.  We’ve handled thousands of spills in the twenty-two years that Protect has been responding to HazMat incidents, so we always maintain a mindset of preparedness and caution.  In the past, our clients have trusted us with the safe handling and disposal of extreme hazards such as acids, oxidizers, flammables, caustics, explosives, numerous unknown chemicals, picric acid, medical wastes, and Ebola contaminated materials.

Specialized equipment can speed up recovery operations, but a machine only works well if it has a knowledgeable operator.  The most important asset we have at Protect is our staff.  Their unequaled training, experience in the environmental field, and client oriented outlook and focus has made Protect the number one contractor for manufacturers, local governments, state agencies, and countless small businesses.

We encourage you to contact our office by phone or email to find out how Protect can help you tackle your environmental needs.

 

  

 

Protect Environmental: An Integral Part of Any Contingency Plan

Accidents happen all over the world every day of the year.  Workplace accidents can have consequences ranging from sprained ankles to multi-million dollar property losses.  If your company hauls cargo, operates heavy machinery, or stores large quantities of chemical products, the risk of HazMat spills should be taken seriously.  Major spills can cripple a company for days or even weeks.  The resulting fines, property losses and litigation can lead to bankruptcy.

Having a contingency plan is essential to mitigating the damage done by accidental chemical spills.  These plans can include training employees, installing secondary containments, and strategically placing spill kits near drains or release valves.  Your plan will heavily depend on several site specific variables, but there’s one common element that every contingency plan should have; a dependable emergency response contractor. 

Not all environmental companies are the same, and finding the right in the middle of the night when your company needs it can be difficult and costly.  Making numerous phone calls and scrolling through websites means valuable time lost.  By developing a relationship with a contractor who has the equipment and know-how to meet your needs before you ever have a spill, you’ll be able to save time and set the response and cleanup in motion immediately.

Protect Environmental has been a leader in the HazMat response industry in North Texas for over twenty years with numerous companies and government agencies relying on our expertise.  Spills don’t observe regular hours or holidays, so our teams are always standing by to tackle your emergency.  A call to our office, day or night, will connect you with an operator that can get your spill response moving forward.

There’s no cost to add Protect to your contingency plan, and our contract terms mean that you’re only charged when our teams are sent into action.  Contact our office today and we’d be happy to discuss your needs and let you know more about how we would oversee a cleanup from beginning to end.

Low Hazard Spills

There are millions of products that are manufactured, transported and utilized all over the world.  Transporting and storing materials in bulk reduces costs and increases a business’s ability to meet customer demands and make profits.  Handling materials in bulk has many benefits, but it also comes with an inherit risk of having a large spill.

Releases of flammable, corrosive, or explosive chemicals require a careful executed response with specially trained personnel in order to avoid serious injuries and additional property damage during cleanup operations.  The hazard level is high, and so are the consequences of a mistake.

Not all spilled bulk products have such a high hazard level; however.  Most products moving on roadways today aren’t nearly as dangerous as products such as Tetrazine and Picric acid.  Spills of non-hazardous materials like food stuffs, used cooking oil, sewage and slaughter house wastes occur every day.  While these materials seem benign, they can still pose a threat to human health and the environment if not properly managed after a spill.  Restoring impacted areas to their previous condition is also required by state and federal regulations, regardless of whether the spilled material is gasoline or nacho cheese, so cleanup need to be treated seriously.

When carriers have an accident in North Texas, our trained teams are there to safely remove the cargo, regardless of what it is, and capture spilled fuel and oil.  Our top priority is to help our clients avoid additional expenses by remediating spills quickly using only the most cost effective solutions.  With more than twenty years of experience in responding to spills of all sorts and sizes, you can count on us to get the job done right.

 

 

 

Know Your Wastes

Wastes materials are often far from the forefront of business operations.  With inventory to track, employees to manage and customers to assist, disposing of waste materials can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list.  Since special wastes require specialized handling and disposal, it is often easier to put them aside with the intention of dealing with them later.  As waste materials accumulate; however, the danger they pose and the cost to dispose of them steadily climbs.

Materials can become wastes for numerous reasons.  A chemical product could expire, a process change could render it unusable or it might be left over after a special project is completed.  When it’s known that a material is no longer needed and is officially a waste, it’s important to deal with it as promptly as possible.  If not, waste materials tend to wind up in the back of a warehouse or storage yards only to be forgotten.

As time goes by, exposure to climate conditions can make managing wastes more difficult.  Weathering can degrade labels and make identifying wastes difficult.  Exposure to rain and sun can compromise the integrity of the packaging, creating a risk of spills.  When drums rust or plastic pails become brittle, materials can escape even if the container isn’t moved.  Slow leaks can penetrate soil and contaminated large areas over the course of months and years.

Eventually, wastes can become unmanageable.  The costs to dispose of large quantities of materials and cleanup contaminated areas can put businesses in financial jeopardy.  To avoid putting the entire business at risk, assign someone to track and manage wastes, and set deadlines for how long wastes can stay on site.

Also, it’s prudent to include room in the budget for disposing of waste materials properly.  Cutting corners or using unscrupulous disposal contractors to save money can wind up costing more in the long run.  The waste generator is ultimately responsible for making sure their waste winds up where it belongs, so illegal dumping can result in massive fines and jail time for the generator.

When you’re ready to clear out your wastes, Protect Environmental is standing by to lend a hand.  Our trained staff can handle almost all types of hazardous and non-hazardous materials, and we research different options to find the most practical solution to fit your needs.  Waste materials don’t have to drag your business down, so contact our office today and let us know what your waste needs are.

 

The Best Time to Plan for the Future is Now

December is a time to reflect on the old year and plan for the new one.  For businesses, the end of the year is a great opportunity to think about the future and prepare for spills and other unforeseeable events.  If your company stores or uses hazardous chemicals such as solvents, cleaners, and fuels, you are at risk of having a spill. 

Part of any spill plan is having an emergency cleanup contractor lined up before a spill happens.  Having pre-existing agreements with a HazMat contractor decreases response times and cleanup costs.  Below are just a few of the advantages of choosing Protect Environmental as your go-to emergency spill response contractor.

Fast response: Protect has two offices in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and can rapidly respond to spills in the North Texas Area.  Our staff are on call 24/7, so no matter where or when your spill occurs, we’ll have a team ready to handle the containment and cleanup.

Detailed Record Keeping: From the moment our teams are called to respond to a HazMat spill, they’re busy gathering information and taking notes.  Accurate information is essential to conducting an efficient and effective cleanup, so our teams take photographs, make maps and record every action taken to respond to the spill.

State Mandated Reports: Spills of various materials have different reporting requirements.  In Texas, spill reports must meet certain criteria and be submitted to the TCEQ in a specific time frame.  Failure to do so could result in hefty fines and other penalties.  When Protect cleans up a spill, we use our detailed records to compile a report for the responsible party to ensure their compliance with State laws.

Fair and Transparent Billing: At Protect Environmental, we believe that our clients deserve the best treatment possible when misfortune strikes.  Our staff know what they need to get the job done and work to use the most cost effective solutions when responding to a spill.  Our clients can count on us to have their best interests in mind so there won’t be any unnecessary or exaggerated costs.

Peace of mind: The work we do is important to us, and we take pride in doing the job the right way.  We handle the job from start to finish, and don’t take shortcuts that put our employees or clients at risk.  We make sure our clients legal obligations are met; keeping them in compliance with government regulations and eliminating their risk of fines due to improper cleanup and waste disposal.

Partnering with Protect Environmental means you’ll be taking another step toward minimizing your company’s liability should a biohazard or chemical spill occur.  By planning ahead and developing a contingency plan for spills, you’re increasing the odds that your company can successfully recover from the unforeseen.  Contact our office today and we’ll help you start the new year off with a solid spill plan.

 

The Cost of Cleanups

Any business that stores or transports chemical products is at risk of having a spill.  When an accident happens and a hazardous chemical spill occurs, several different outcomes are possible.  Businesses that want to successfully cope and recover after an accident must take a comprehensive approach to spill prevention and management.

One aspect of spill cleanup and recovery that’s commonly overlooked by potentially liable companies is proper insurance coverage.  States can vary on how they divide liability for spills and insurance companies will have different standards for what a policy will cover.  Some companies will cover cleanup costs in a general liability policy, but others may require pollution liability to be purchased separately.

Transporters, brokers or end users of chemical products that don’t have the proper coverage can find themselves in a difficult situation when a spill occurs.  If they opted for a policy that doesn’t offer limits that are appropriate for the type and quantity of chemicals they handle, they can find themselves paying a substantial portion of cleanup costs themselves.  Cleanups after a spill are also mandatory under state and federal law, so if the state has to pay those costs the responsible party will find themselves in court facing severe fines and jail time.  Companies that don’t have the cash on hand to cover cleanup costs often go out of business soon after.

The cost of a cleanup depends heavily on what product is spilled and where it occurs.  A few gallons of paint spilled on a flat parking lot would require minimal effort and cost to cleanup.  In contrast, the cost of cleaning up a tractor trailer that spilled hundreds of gallons of ethylene glycol into a waterway could easily reach over $100,000.  More hazardous substances can invoke cleanups and lawsuits costing millions of dollars.

No one can predict the future, but with thorough planning and investment companies can be prepared to handle spills and resume normal operations as soon as possible.  By assessing their risks and working with their insurance provider to find the proper amount of coverage, a company is taking another step toward protecting it’s shareholders and employees from financial disaster.

For over twenty years, Protect Environmental has been working with responsible parties, insurance companies and state authorities to cleanup chemical spills and protect the health and safety of the public.  If you’d like to know more about the role that Protect can play in your overall spill response strategy, give us a call or email today.

 

Hazards Below the Surface

Bulk storage tanks for liquid chemical products can take up a lot of space.  Many chemical distributors and industrial manufacturers have large facilities and tank farms to house the chemicals they handle.  For smaller distributors, especially in urban settings, space limitations might prevent above ground tanks from being an option.  When the space isn’t available, underground storage tanks (UST’s) are the preferred method for chemical storage.

Gas stations, farmers, chemical companies and even private individuals have utilized UST’s for their liquid chemical storage needs for decades.  The EPA estimates that by the 1980’s, there were over two million UST’s in the United States that stored hazardous materials and petroleum products.  Until that time, these tanks were largely unregulated.  They were often made of bare steel and frequently corroded and leaked their contents into the surrounding soil, posing a threat to groundwater sources.  Since underground tanks aren’t visible, a leaking tank could release its contents for years before the leak was noticed.

The Federal UST program was created to track and regulate tanks in order to prevent leaks.  The program defined a UST as a tank and it’s piping that had ten percent of its total volume underground.  Only tanks that store petroleum products or certain hazardous substances are regulated by the program.  This means that a tank might be buried underground, but isn’t regulated because it stores water or another non-hazardous substance.

A tank regulated by the UST program has to meet certain standards for design, installation, and leak detection.  These criteria ensure that every new tank minimizes the risk of leaks and put in place a system to detect leaks if one does occur.  When a UST is removed, it must still be handled in a way that is compliant with the UST regulations to prevent chemical spills.

The UST program also dictates that the tank’s owner/operator as being financial responsibility for monitoring, cleaning up a spill and damages to third party property if a leak occurs.  An operator that allows a leak to occur and fails to act on it can still be held liable for the cleanup, even if they’ve already sold the property.  In the event that owner is unknown, unwilling or unable to pay, a fund operated by the EPA pays the costs.

Since the inception of the UST program in 1984, a majority of the old UST’s that existed prior to the program have been removed.  As of March of 2017, there have been over 535,000 confirmed cases of UST releases.  Roughly 86% of these sites have been remediated, but thousands more still remain.

Some property owners may not even realize that they have a UST on the premises if the previous owner failed to inform them.  It can come as quite a surprise to find out that a tank storing hazardous chemicals is right under the surface.  As an environmental contractor working for the TCEQ and property owners, Protect Environmental has helped to detect leaks, dispose of the hazardous contents, remove the tank and remediate the contaminated soil.  We can handle all the details of the project including testing, reporting and waste disposal.

If you have a UST that you need removed, or suspect that you might have one, feel free to contact our office to learn more about how we can help.

 

 

 

HUBNFPA Member

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