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How to avoid water contamination when your company builds a new premise

by , 19 February 2013
Gold producer AngloGold Ashanti has been charged with contaminating water in Stilfontein by the Federation for Sustainable Environment, reports Fin24. According to the report, the effects of the polluted water, which come from a leaking dam, can be seen in the grazing cattle in the area. If your company is involved in building or is currently constructing a new premises or outlet, there're construction regulations you must uphold if you don't want to get charged with water pollution. Here's what you need to do...

'Head of the federation Mariette Liefferink told the Mail &Gaurdian that the charges had been laid due to repeated spillages, when water leaked out of AngloGold's tailings dam in Stilfontein in the North West,' reports Fin24.
'The polluted water is allegedly spilling in an area of dolomitic rock that affects the groundwater and could potentially contaminate the nearby Vaal River, posing a severe health risk,' continues the article.
But it's not just big companies that need to beware of their impact on the environment – especially when it comes to water contamination – if your company's currently building.
Here's how to ensure your company's construction work isn't contaminating water sources
There're many construction regulations you need to comply with when it comes to protecting the environment during a construction project, explains the Health and Safety Advisor.
To protect the environment against water pollution, you must have three things in place:
  • 1. A plan of action to ensure no oil, chemicals or fuel is spilt into the ground to prevent polluting ground water. 'Pollutants on construction sites can also soak into the groundwater, a source of human drinking water. Once contaminated, groundwater is much more difficult to treat than surface water,' says an article on sustainablebuild.co.uk.
  • 2. A site-specific surface water management plan that details how water drainage will be controlled on the site.
  • 3. A plan to ensure that any destabilisation works (excavations, ground disturbance or stripping of vegetation and/or topsoil) is carried out in a way that avoids water pollution from silt-bearing run-off and sediment pollution.
By having these three construction regulations in place, you'll be able to protect the environment from potential sources of water contaminationas a result of construction as well as ensure your company can't be hit with a hefty water pollution fine. 
Turn to chapter C02 of your Health and Safety Advisor to get the Construction: Procedures to follow when undertaking construction work checklist 


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