I was recently undergoing some continuing education training at Rutgers University, when a comment the instructor made in passing caught my attention.
He’s an old pro, a veteran of a public utility. He said that contamination and releases are “lazy.” The rest of the group kind of looked at him strangely. But I caught on right away.
You might think this is good news… that lazy releases mean you don’t have anything to worry about. However, it’s the opposite.
Here’s what he meant:
When a contaminant is released by accident, it looks for the path of least resistance. It does the least amount of “work” possible to do the greatest amount of damage to your facility. Say there’s a chemical spill – that liquid is headed straight to the nearest floor drain… and you better know where that drain discharges.
This is an issue that should keep you up night, because you probably have some lazy contamination just waiting to happen; especially if there are hazardous materials stored, handled, offloaded and/or loaded in your facility that have the potential to be spilled.
Of course, no facility is really immune; almost all have the potential for lazy contamination, as you’ll see in a moment.
The good news is these issues are generally easy to solve. To reduce, or eliminate, the potential for lazy contamination, all you have to do is identify and eliminate the paths of least resistance. And, if you take action now and put preventive measures in place, you’ll be able to avoid a potentially expensive cleanup situation.