ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION CONTROL
Environmental pollution results from
chemical, physical, or biological agents in the
water, ground, or air that alter the natural
environment. Pollution adversely affects
human health, plant life, fish, and wildlife.
Pollution can disintegrate nylon line, crumble
masonry, corrode steel, and darken the skies.
Most important is the damage to vegetation,
human illness, and loss of productivity. Most
pollution can be prevented, or slowed down, if
people control the amount of foreign matter
they put into the environment.
This chapter briefly covers ways to
prevent water, ground, and air pollution on the
jobsite. It also describes the means by which
the Utilitiesman can help prevent, control, and
clean up the pollution.
WATER AND GROUND POLLUTION
Other than creating a fire hazard, oil and
other petroleum-related products pose many
possible pollution threats when spilled in the
water, dumped into the storm or sanitary
sewer system, or spilled on the ground. Oil
products on the ground infiltrate and
contaminate surface water supplies with the
groundwater runoff caused by rain. Oil
products dumped or carried into a storm or
sanitary sewer are also potential explosion
Oily wastewater from boiler rooms, banks
of walk-in refrigeration units, and motor pool
operations is caused by the following:
l improper handling and storage of new and
l equipment and vehicle washing
O various other maintenance activities that
generate liquid waste or wastewater that must
be stored or treated.
An oil slick on the surface of the water
blocks the flow of oxygen from the
atmosphere into the water. This is harmful to
fish, other aquatic life, and other sewage
treatment facilities. If the fish do not die from
the oil coating on their gills, or from eating the
oil or oil-laden food, their flesh becomes
tainted and is no longer fit for human
consumption. Other than harming aquatic life,
drinking water can become contaminated.
Drinking water from wells and surface storage
facilities are treated with chemicals to rid the
water of harmful bacteria. However, no
amount of treatment can rid a system of
contamination from waste oil products. The
system must be abandoned.
As a supervisor, your concern should be
to prevent oil in the shop from draining into
storm sewers and surface drainage systems.
During pipe-threading operations, you should
provide catch pans and absorbent material to
soak up spilled oil. NEVER wash spilled oil
or fuels down a drain or sewer unless an
immediate fire hazard exists and an oil-water
separator is connected to the discharge line.
To clean up a spill, you should sprinkle
absorbent material on the spill, sweep it up,
and place it in an approved EPA container.
Containers are disposed of through the
Defense Reutilization Marketing Office