Water pollution control

Avoiding substance release and water pollution in a targeted manner

If certain criteria are met, plants handling water-polluting substances are subject to the Ordinance on Installations for the Handling of Substances Hazardous to Water (AwSV). This regulation of 18th April 2017 (BGBI, page 905) has been in effect throughout Germany since 1st August 2017 and replaces the corresponding laws of the German federal states (VAwS). The AwSV especially applies to the following independent and stationary or stationarily operated plants handling water-polluting substances such as:

  • fuel oil consumer installations,
  • petrol stations,
  • storages of chemicals and hazardous substances,
  • electroplating,
  • huge water treatment plants,
  • power plants,
  • fertiliser storages,
  • hydraulic systems,
  • agricultural facilities (especially biogas plants),
  • etc.

Our experts according to § 47 AwSV from our subsidiaries in Hamburg, Cologne and Nuremberg support you concerning the following subjects:

  • commissioning tests,
  • repeat inspections,
  • decommissioning tests,
  • advice on plant licensing,
  • advice on implementation and construction,
  • preparation of AwSV concepts (e. g. within the scope of restructuring),
  • questions on the handling of water-polluting substances resulting from other regulations such as the Industrial Safety Regulation, the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances, the Hazardous Incident Ordinance, the WasBauPVO (Ordinance on the Determination of the Suitability of Building Products and Types of Construction with regard to Water Legislation), construction law etc.

Our tasks: inspection, evaluation and advice

The regulation concerning specialist companies and plants handling water-polluting substances requires that operators constantly monitor the leak tightness and the functioning of safety devices of facilities handling water-polluting substances. In case of plants requiring inspection, the self-monitoring is to be supplemented with a supervision carried out by an external expert according to § 47 AwSV (formerly VAwS).

Operating plants handling water-polluting substances and mixtures

Especially in §§ 14, 40, 43 the AwSV gives the operators guidelines on how to run their plants. In general, the operator has to check the plant for leak tightness and supervise the functioning of all safety devices. This is complemented by the requirement of plant documentation (§§ 14, 43) as well as the requirement of notification in case of disturbances, changes in the hazard level and operator changes (§ 40).

Plants subject to inspection

The obligation of inspection is stated in §§ 40 and §§ 46 of the AwSV as well as in Appendices 5 and 6. In individual cases, the test periods have changed compared with the VAwS of the German federal states. The obligation of inspection depends on the quantity and the water hazard classification of the substances or mixtures handled in the plant. This results in a classification into hazard levels. Depending on the type of storage – aboveground or underground – and the location in a protective area or flood area, the regular test periods may vary.In general, after commissioning a deadline of five years applys for repeated inspections in case of plants located outside of protective areas or flood areas. Underground plants handling water-polluting substances are always subject to inspection, regardless of their size and type. For plants located in protective areas, inspections are to be carried out every 30 months.

Who has to carry out an inspection, and when?

As a rule, pursuant to the Water Resources Act the plant operator must appoint an expert according to § 47 AwSV (formerly VAwS) to carry out inspections if a new plant is constructed or commissioned or if significant changes are made at an existing facility and/or if the facility is being decommissioned. In addition, the inspection must be repeated every five years or in case of underground storage in water protection areas every 2.5 years. The operator is required to immediately correct any deficiencies found at the time of inspection. In case of considerable deficiencies this will be verified by the expert, in case of hazardous deficiencies the plant or plant section has to be shut down.

Our service – your advantage

Get in touch with us. We will be happy to assist you in all AwSV-related aspects! A particular advantage is that our experts have various other qualifications in the fields of explosion protection, fire protection, major accidents law and licensing law. Our team will readily assist you regarding the supervision of process plants and plant safety when it comes to avoiding hazardous effects on human beings, the environment and material assets.

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