Preventing Plastic Pellet discharge to surrounding Waterways and General Spill Containment:

Two Step approach to eliminating Plastic Waste entering the Waterways.


Plastic material is an integral part of our daily lives and the annual production is today >300 million tons (Plastics Europe, 2014). Most thermoplastic articles and materials originate from virgin plastic pellets, also called preproduction pellets, beads, or nurdles. These are produced in polymeric production industries, or to some extent in recycling facilities. The pellets typically have a diameter of 2–5 mm and are regular in shape. Smaller powders, often referred to as fluff, are also produced and have more irregular shapes and sizes. The produced pellets are subsequently transported from the production site, with train, truck and/or ship to the facility where the final product is being moulded or extruded from the virgin material. This material can however be lost in all steps during the production chain, from preproduction, to the final item production.

Current Application:

We have a plastic site that is signed up to operation clean sweep, global initiative. We have made them a filter for gully pots and are now spill modelling and surveying the drainage. What we found was that every gully pot on the site was not operational, the rodding bung was not fitted. Simple issue for plastic, cigarettes, oil going into the rivers and sea. It is imperative a clear understanding of how on-site drains work, is established.

We can impact plastic pollution in two easy steps.

  • Fix existing drainage on site
  • Install Correct Firewater Containment/Pollution control system.

The challenge here is plastic pellets. Sites have found product at the discharge outlet a mile away and then 15 miles away in the Rivers and Streams What we have discovered is that sites do not understand drainage. My work therefore went from product to education as a consultant. The client has now commissioned us for survey and to put the drainage right as well as manufacture filters in high risk areas. The site had spent a fortune on spill products and consultancy, and I think the approach of understanding source-pathway- receptor is best approach. The pathway is now working as intended. They now are looking to fit Toggleblok so that is a major spill or fire occurs they can shut down the pathway. ZERO plastic pollution. Key Requirements:

  • Client Education
  • Correct Drainage Issues
  • Design Drain Filters and Install
  • Spill Mapping
  • Understanding Source-Pathway-Receptor
  • Install Toggleblok to ensure containment and Zero Plastic Pollution.

The site must have:

  • Accurate drainage plans
  • Try to eliminate pollution risk, move product from drains. We know this isn’t always possible
  • Understand the source of pollution. Does it separate in water, if it does the drainage can be made to work to eliminate pollution risk. If it is a miscible substance it must not enter a drain, if it does a site needs Toggleblok to stop flow allowing for product removal. Valves are best fitted near the risk to reduce volume and potential mixing with rainwater.
  • Receptor, ideally a site should know where pollution could end up so if the worst happens, they can act responsibly.

Plastic pollution is now global news and I think brands will find it awkward if they are called out as a polluter.


Sketch of Working Solution:

This solution is easy to implement and ensures Plastic Pellets caught at source.

Gully Guerads/Filters:

Image 1:

Shows a product called Gully Guard. This is used for hydrocarbon removal, total waste of time unless you have a major oil issue. A working gully pot will trap oil and things that float on water. Heavy items sink. Only clean water comes from the middle. This is a major issue for all pollution, incorrect maintenance of equipment.

Image 2:

Note the outlet pipe just above the water level. This is a rodding / camera point and should be fitted with a stopper. With this missing it allows the rubbish to flow out when it rains. Sites either don’t know this or have removed the bung thinking it makes the system better “will never block” Every gully pot on this site was like this. We instantly reduced plastic pollution with this simple repair!

Image 3:

The site asked us to make a filter for all high risk areas, due to the way builders don’t line up the grids with the drainage we have had to make bespoke units. These are going to last however, so will not need doing again. Every job we improve the design and I am looking at a filter disc and getting sites to buy a wet n dry vac to hoover out the plastic. Simple and work.

Image 4:

We have fitted a fishing net to this filter, idea is it offers finer protection

Image 5:

Cover back on.


Spill Mapping:

Understanding the flow from your site is a key component in understanding your exposure.

SPILL MAPPING always uses the CIRIA736 and its BAT to set a base line to run a pollution model. We take a detailed topography and drainage model of your site to produce an accurate site plan and then replicate a disaster and the potential liquid flow off your site. This animation will show the breakout points and time lines. Once you have a baseline model you can add in pollution containment valves and barriers. These devices will change the pathways. Incorrectly positioned or specified drainage closure devices are the most common fault we find at sites. The spill mapping service allows our customers to evidence the risk allowing them to present to the business the challenges. Amazingly most sites that utilise this service reduce costs by over 50% on current spill prevention methods.

If you take care of spill containment or water pollution prevention you really should be aware of the ultimate water pollution prevention device.


Well, this is the first purpose designed, fail-safe, compliant valve that gives you absolute peace of mind that if you were to suffer a spill, a fire or flood you won’t be facing the reputational and cleanup costs, or the regulatory fines, associated with polluting the environment. The Toggleblok™ is a water-tight and fail-safe valve for fire water, pollution, flood water or spill containment and the only valve we would recommend for organisations committed to complying with UK environmental protection regulations, the CIRIA 736 industry standard guidance

It features:

  • automatically locking valves
  • retrofit to existing drainage systems
  • gsm control
  • programmable triggers
  • self-powered solar back up
  • links to your existing fire system
  • cost effective solution

Environmental Monitoring:

Every business can have a fire or a spillage, if a pollutant leaves the site and causes pollution of water or ground, the business is responsible to remediate the damage to what it was before the event.

Costs to Businesses of Pollution:

  • Clean up
  • Legal

Why Sandfield?

You get to sleep soundly knowing that if the worst were to happen you have the ultimate valve protecting your business.

Stop throwing money, and pollutants, down the drain!

Our team supported the environment agency in redrafting CIRIA736 Containment Systems for the Prevention of Pollution which utilised several of our customer site case studies.

So why not assess your exposure and mitigate that risk with our experts in spill containment now?

Take the first step and contact us now.