Category Archives: Work

Planning of hazardous waste disposal, how not to get stuck with your waste

In many cases waste disposal is considered by the end of a project when the waste comes available and that is too late.

Why wait?
Why don’t people look at the waste disposal aspects earlier in a project? Reasons can be that the quantity is not known yet or that the composition of the waste is not known. Due to the unknown composition it may not be possible to establish the hazards. In some cases the project resulting in the waste is done by an industrial services contractor and at the end of the project the waste is handed to the owner or operator of the plant. Waste disposal may be the responsibility of another part of the organisation that is not involved in for example maintenance projects. Or waste disposal is simply underestimated.

Integrate waste disposal
With most waste, but certainly when dealing with hazardous waste it pays off to consider disposal as early as possible in the project and integrate it in the planning. Not doing so can lead to serious delays and long times of getting stuck with waste. Many countries also limit the time that you can store waste leading to possible violations if you can’t move it in time.

Dispose, treat or recycle
Depending on your waste stream it may be complex to get rid of and the more hazardous the fewer options you may have. Knowing your disposal options is an important step. Can you simple dispose, is treatment required or is it possible to recover materials that can be recycled? Is the solution nearby or far away? Advanced treatment and recycling facilities are often located in western countries. One of the reasons for this is that it is illegal under the UN Basel convention to move hazardous waste in to a developing country. Therefore waste treatment facilities in developing countries can only cater for the domestic market making it difficult to reach sufficient economy of scale.

Another good reason to plan ahead is packaging having the right packaging from the start saves repacking when the waste can’t be moved if packed wrong. Packaging of waste is regulated and important for the safety of transport, storage and handling. Sometimes suitable packaging is not locally available and needs to be imported. Limiting the time the waste is packed can also lead to savings, under some conditions, rain, moisture and sunlight packaging can deteriorate very fast and it is not uncommon that repacking is required prior to transport after long periods of storage.

When waste has to be stored and moved permits will be necessary. Obtaining permits can take a lot of time as you have to work with governmental organisations. When waste has to be moved between countries permission is needed not only from the country of origin and the destination country, but from every intermediate country that the transport passes trough. Even when waste stays on board of a ship visiting a port the authorities of that country have to give permission for the waste to be on board. This system of permitting is regulated under the UN Basel convention. Obtaining all the permissions can take more than half a year depending on the countries involved. Some countries also require inland waste movement permits and special licenses and insurances for the vehicles used for the transport. Storage facilities need to be licensed for the storage of the waste and there may be limits to the time that waste can be stored. Regulatory frameworks differ by country. All issues that take time to clear if you want to make sure you stay within the rules.

Transport and storage
Pending the permits transport has to be organised and that is also not easy. Many transport companies, shipping lines in particular, don’t like waste on board their vessels. Most simply refuse all waste and by doing so they make it even harder to find proper disposal solutions for complex hazardous waste. Some shipping lines do accept waste under strict conditions and only via specialized booking agents that work with experienced people in the field that know how to safely load and secure hazardous waste cargo. In all cases acceptance of the hazardous cargo is in the hands of the DG (Dangerous Goods) department of a shipping line and the final decision is with the captain of the vessel who can refuse cargo in exceptional cases. The hazardous cargo needs to be very well documented, not only in writing, often pictures of the cargo and it’s securing in the containers are required too.
Depending on the departure port temporary storage may be needed at the port between delivery of the cargo and loading it on the vessel. Also for this short term storage the warehouse needs to be licensed to store the waste.

Not including waste disposal in your project can cause serious delays and unexpected additional cost. Altogether a lot has to be planned and organised to timely and legally dispose of hazardous waste. If you need a helping hand, let me know!

Overfishing in the decommissioning market before it even kicks-off.

One of the hot topics in the oil & gas industry is decommissioning, the vast amounts of old platforms, pipes and other installations and equipment that needs to be dealt with. A golden opportunity for many and a possible bottomless pit for others.

Initially expected to kick off for 2015, now more like 2018, maybe even later.

Forecasts of the business volumes are going wild and many market developers are drooling by the looks of them and so are their bosses. But the market is still in the powerpoint phase.

Service and construction companies in the peripheral of oil & gas see it as the replacement of revenues lost due to the downfall in the industry but the oil & gas producers are not eager to start while their income is at an all time low.

Massive vessels and scrapyards are built by the big players in the market and also many of the smaller companies see a change to get a share of this huge cake.

The owners of the installations are procrastinating to say the least and in the mean time looking for all possible ways to reduce the cost or even prevent scrapping at the scale originally foreseen.

As a garbage man I’m often asked about the waste aspects of decommissioning, the hazardous, mercury waste in particular.

Some players see enormous streams of hazardous waste containing mercury and other elements and are looking at setting up local treatment installations to deal with it.

As far as I’m concerned we don’t even know what the waste stream will look like. Although it would be great to receive massive amounts of cleaning waste at our plant I really don’t think it will happen. Nor do I see many local contenders in the decommissioning being successful in setting up and running treatment facilities.

Right now there are a handful of mercury waste treatment plants like Batrec in the world and they seem to be able to cope with the existing waste streams and they all will confirm that it’s not easy to run such an operation dealing with highly toxic waste.

I fear a lot of environmental issues if in 5 years from now we will have a handful of mercury waste facilities in every country with a serious oil & gas industry.

In the mean time the influential lobby of the oil & gas industry is using the delay to find support for other, cheaper options to deal with the installations up for decommissioning. Who can tell? We may end up with a lot of artificial reefs, fish farms, naval bases or lunar observatories to mention a few silly options.

In short, the industry knew that there would come a time to take their installations away and that they are dirty, but nobody expected the oil price to be this low as it is now when it’s time to pack up.

Not as many installations will be scrapped in the way we anticipate now and the waste streams are hard to predict in both volume and composition.

Looking at the number of companies that is after a share of the decommissioning market the competition will be very fierce and as a result the margins will be thin. Too many fishing in the same market that didn’t even kicked-off.

Recycling of catalyst and other metal baring materials for your catalyst recycling expertise!

We are experts in recycling of spent catalyst, sludges, filter cakes, ash, ores, etc containing small or larger amounts of Zn, Cu, Ni, V, Mo, Co, W, Ti, Sn, Pt, Pd, Rh, Au, Ag, etc.

Non Ferrous Metals

  • Aluminum (Al)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Lead (Sb)
  • Nickel (Ni)
  • Tin (Sn)
  • Titanium (Ti)
  • Zinc (Zn)
Minor Metals

  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Cobalt (Co)
  • Tungsten (W)
  • Vanadium (V)
Precious Metals

  • Gold (Au)
  • Silver (Ag)
  • Palladium (Pd)
  • Platinum (Pt)
  • Rhodium (Rh)

We are expert in every step of the way to getting the best value from your waste or by product!

Establishing the value of your materials
We have a wide experience with investigating and sampling all kinds of materials. The first step is always to indicate the value and to establish the feasibility and possible solutions of your project.
Later on we have to establish the exact value of your materials based on samples and analysis in independent laboratories. We are experts in sampling and working with independent essayers and laboratories.

To move materials often classified as “waste” and sometimes as “hazardous waste” legally you need permits. We help you with the paperwork and provide the documents that you need to apply for permits.

Packaging and loading
The right packaging and the right way of loading to optimize transport and safety making sure what you ship arrives at the planned destination in good order. We have the knowledge and experience to organize it all for you.

How to move the materials, shipping lines, trucking, etc. We know them and they know us. Certainly with hazardous materials it takes a good relationship for shipping lines to accept the cargo.

We have in depth knowledge of the processes of recycling for many different materials enabling us to find the best solution and check the results fro you.

End to end
At we take care you your project from end to end covering all aspects of recovering the best value from your waste materials in an environmental responsible way in accordance with local and international laws and regulations.

Mercury Management and Mercury Disposal

Companies in exploration and production of oil and gas and many petrochemical plants have problems to solve involving mercury (Hg).

mercury-monitoringProblems start with mercury sludges from drilling or solids removal, produced sand and water, catalyst or absorbent, contaminated equipment and piping, mercury in reactors, etc.

From that comes mercury waste, spent catalyst or absorbent, sludges, sands and the need to clean or decontaminate equipment, tubing, valves, etc.

Disposal of mercury waste is a specialized field that I have been working in for the past 8 years building knowledge and a network of professional contacts that can take care of all aspects.

Think about mercury management, mercury disposal, decontamination, cleaning, waste logistics, Basel waste movement notification, permits, safe handling, PPE, etc.mercury-waste-shipping

It’s getting more and more difficult to deal with mercury in a proper and legal way, safety issues, company regulations, international bodies like the UN Basel convention, local authorities, logistics, shipping lines, etc. Hazardous waste is a hot issue for many parties that are involved when you start dealing with it.

If you have a problem with mercury or any questions related to mercury, please contact me, I can solve it!