Across Europe, BAT (Best Available Techniques) are highlighted by the EIPPCB (the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau) in the shape of BREFs (BAT Reference Documents).
These documents contain information about production processes in the industrial field, associated environmental impacts and on the best available techniques for the prevention or reduction of pollution.
In the UK there are two major references suggested as the authoritative citations for emissions – namely the Environment Agency’s M1 and M2 documents.
You can view these reference documents here: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/regulation/31831.aspx
BREFs cover emissions which may affect air quality, plus other kinds of pollution which might impact on water, soil or human health. They are guidelines compiled through the exchange of information by industry authorities to help decision makers involved in the implementation of the IPPC Directive.
Essentially this concerns integrated pollution prevention and control, and you can read more about it here: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/pollutants/stationary/ippc/index.htm
A report from Defra assessing its implementation in the UK is available here: http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/pollution/ppc/background/documents/implementation-study.pdf
BREFs are used by the operators of installations during the preparation of an application for an IPPC Permit, for example, by environmental authorities – permit writers and policy makers – and by the general public.
These are extremely comprehensive, industry-specific texts – some as lengthy as 700 pages.
Clearly you’d only approach such weighty paperwork if you had a need to do so – and, whether you’re running a farm or a steelworks, chances are you’re already familiar with the documentation relevant to your trade, because it’s your legal obligation to be.
We have, however, flagged up some of the industry-specific BREFs of relevance to our readers.
Cross referenced with your industry
The seven main industries embraced in AWE’s demographics are Oil and Gas/Petrochemical; Water/Wastewater; Chemical; Agriculture; Power, including Nuclear; Pharmaceutical; Mining.
It’s interesting to note that more than one BREF may apply to running an operation, with certain hazardous substances potentially causing widespread environmental contamination.
Readers will of course be familiar with the practise of compiling Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) which will help determine any possible detrimental impacts from industrial operations. One advantage of establishing a comprehensive EIA is that it will clearly indicate the extent of BREFs an installation will need to consult.
Oil and gas
Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for Mineral Oil and Gas Refineries
Because oil companies are generally international operations, people from outside of the EU have been involved with compiling this particular BREF, which addresses the mineral and oil refining industry, as well as the natural gas plants.
Mineral oil refineries and process activities are included, while related activities such as exploration and transportation are not.
If you are involved in this sector you may wish to cross reference this BREF with others, such as those covering storage or wastewater.
Wastewater and waste gas
Reference Document on Best Available Techniques in Common Waste Water and Waste gas Treatment/Management Systems in the Chemical Sector
This document addresses the entire chemical sector, independently of production processes or the size of the chemical enterprise, offering guidance on the application of environmental management systems, treatment technologies, and strategies for optimum pollution reduction.
This document may also have value for the refinery sector.
Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the Waste Treatment Industries will also be of interest:
Best Available Techniques for the Manufacture of Large Volume Inorganic Chemicals – Solids and Others Industry
This is another sector in which more than one BREF may apply. As in previous examples, it includes general principles of management systems, unit processes and operations. It also contains generic product groups linked by common chemistry or production techniques.
Also see Best Techniques for the Manufacture of Large Volume Inorganic Chemicals – Ammonia, Acids and Fertilisers
Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for Intensive Rearing of Poultry and Pigs
Small family run farms have decreased in the EU due to increasing market demands. Animal welfare issues are now a consideration, along with emission levels associated with intensive farming and production systems. With 220 references, this document addresses a wide range of issues, from flooring systems for pigs through to slurry spreading.
Power, including Nuclear
Unsurprisingly, guidance pertaining to this industry is extremely complex. With regard to nuclear power, the EU has created a body called ENSREG (European Nuclear Safety Regulators’ Group) solely for the purpose. In addition, with emissions from nuclear installations in particular potentially having global consequences, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) exists as a sort of nuclear watchdog.
With more ‘conventional’ power production, the definition of a combustion plant has caused some considerable debate within the EU Commission, but the agreed definition is that a collection of plants whose waste gases are discharged through a common stack should be considered to be a single plant. Furthermore, a stack is a structure rising above roof level which can embody one or more flues.
Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for Large Combustion Plants
Energy generation is a diverse sector, and is based on a variety of fuels – solid, liquid or gaseous.
More than 60 experts from Member States were involved with the compilation of this document, which covers combustion installations with a rated thermal input exceeding 50MW.
It pertains to coal, lignite, biomass, peat, liquid and gaseous fuels – including hydrogen and biogas – and you’ll also find information covering upstream and downstream activities that are directly associated with processes.
Another BREF of significance in this context is Reference Document on the application of Best Available Techniques to Industrial Cooling Systems
While applying to power plants, it also addresses industries such as chemical, pulp and paper, steel production and textiles. This document aims to minimise both the direct and indirect impacts of operating a cooling system, based on the premise that the environmental performance of a cooling process depends largely on selection and design of the cooling system.
OJEC the official journal of the European Union and establishes its framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations in the following document:
ENSREG (European Nuclear Safety Regulators’ Group) is the European Regulators Group for nuclear safety established in March 2007
It brings together senior officials from the national nuclear safety, radioactive waste safety or radiation protection regulatory authorities from all 27 Member States in the European Union, and representatives of the European Commission.
ENSREG’s role is to help to establish the conditions for continuous improvement and to reach a common understanding in the areas of nuclear safety and radioactive waste management.
For further information visit http://www.ensreg.eu/
Although numerous BREFs apply to this sector, as in many chemical-based operations, the following BREF is a useful overview.
Overview of the Review Process for the Chemical BREFs – LVIC-S and CWW
Best Available Techniques for the management of tailings and waste-rock in mining activities
This document addresses the fact that the collapse of tailings and waste rock heaps can cause severe environmental damage, and dams can potentially burst, causing further hazards.
References are found to the following metals: • Aluminium • Cadmium • Chromium • Copper • Gold • Iron • Lead • Manganese • Mercury • Nickel • Silver • Tin • Tungsten • Zinc
See also Reference Document on the application of Best Available Techniques Non Ferrous Metals Industries http://circa.europa.eu/Public/irc/env/ippc_brefs/library?l=/bref_ferrous_metals_1/ferrous_metals_enpdf/_EN_1.0_&a=d It’s surprising how many BREF crossovers there are in the running of large industrial operations. Waste incineration, for example, may be a common activity many different industries share. There’s a BREF for that, as there are for numerous industrial processes – which is somehow rather reassuring.
For more information visit http://eippcb.jrc.es/reference
Published: 02nd Jul 2013 in AWE International