Guidance has been launched today (7 June) to aid operators of sites handling refuse derived fuel (RDF) in drawing up Fire Prevention Plans (FPPs) for their sites.
The guidance, which has been compiled by the RDF Industry Group, is the second sector-specific FPP guide to have been developed in consultation with the Environment Agency, after a similar document was agreed for the wood waste sector in late 2018 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Shared for the first time at the RDF Industry Group’s members meeting in London this week, the document draws on good practice for fire prevention planning on sites and draws on case studies of members who have implemented measures at their own facilities.
FPPs are required to be approved by the Environment Agency in order to gain an environmental permit for a new site, to vary an existing permit or for sites which have suffered from fires in the past.
They are aimed at minimising the likelihood of a fire occurring at a site, aim to limit material burn time to within four hours, and minimise the spread of fire within a site and neighbouring sites.
The RDF group’s guidance is intended to be used in the development of FPPs for residual waste including baled and loose material and RDF.
Areas covered within the guidance include managing seasonal variation in material on-site, mapping ‘sensitive receptors’, preventing the build up of ‘fluff’ and ‘dust’, waste pile management and temperature monitoring. Fire suppression and fire-fighting techniques are also a part of the document.
Among the advice to operators is the use of ‘cross-wrapping’ to improve the integrity of baled waste, which can limit the spread of oxygen through the material and potentially prevent combustion.
The guidance also suggests that sites operate a ‘first-in first-out’ policy to prevent material remaining on a site for too-long, with the EA having set a six-month limit on the amount of time that material can remain on a site.
EA guidance sets a maximum pile size of 450m2 for loose or baled material, and sites are required to undertake temperature monitoring on any pile within this size which has been stored on a site for three months or longer.
The RDF Industry Group guidance notes that temperature monitoring should show as any self-heating within the pile as a “small but measurable temperature change at the surface” and it discourages probing RDF bales, as this may introduce oxygen to the pile and actually increase the risk of self-combustion.
Commenting on the guidance, Robert Corijn, Chair of the RDF Industry Group, said: “We would like to thank everyone at the EA, as well as the Group’s FPP working group, for getting us to this point. We hope the guidance will assist with addressing some of the nuances around waste storage and monitoring and waste pile management, enabling operators to develop FPPs in line with current good practices.”
Peter Buckley, senior fire advisor at the Environment Agency, who worked alongside the RDF Industry Group on the document, has called for other sector groups to work collaboratively on their own fire guidance.
“We would like to thank everyone at the EA, as well as the Group’s FPP working group, for getting us to this point. We hope the guidance will assist with addressing some of the nuances around waste storage and monitoring and waste pile management, enabling operators to develop FPPs in line with current good practices.”Robert Corijn
RDF Industry Group
He said: “Following on from specific guidance produced for other parts of the waste sector, we are pleased that the RDF Industry Group has produced guidance specific to residual waste and made this available to the wider industry.
“We hope this guidance will enable residual waste operators to produce high quality FPPs and ensure that any alternative measures proposed meet the three core objectives set out in the EA’s guidance. The RDF Industry Group has fully engaged with the EA in open dialogue and has been able to produce this document in a relatively short timescale.
“The EA would take other industry groups and associations to take a similar approach for their respective sectors.”
RDF Industry Group is comprised of 33 members, which includes waste contractors and operators from across the UK and Europe. The group was formed in 2015 and is supported by the consultancy firm Eunomia.
RDF Industry Group – FPP Guidance