Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

How to monitor your solvent use and emissions

How to monitor solvent use and emissions

You may need to use a variety of techniques and equipment for monitoring solvent emissions. When choosing these, you need to consider:

  • the type of data you require
  • the frequency of monitoring
  • safety issues
  • operating restrictions of equipment such as temperature and humidity
  • the accuracy you require
  • how easy it is to repeat measurements.

You should also consider the reliability and robustness of equipment, as well as its accreditation or certification - eg to British Standards. If you are subcontracting all or part of the process, you should check the capabilities of the sampling personnel and laboratory facilities.

You need to decide whether to monitor your solvent emissions using in-house resources or to contract the work out to a specialist organisation. If you do it in-house, you'll also need to decide whether to hire or buy the necessary equipment.

Using a specialist organisation

Advantages include:

  • you do not need to buy and maintain equipment
  • you have access to experts who know the appropriate monitoring techniques
  • no specialist internal training is required
  • you can use independently accredited or certified equipment, personnel and sampling laboratories
  • possible reduced costs by having a competitive tender process
  • they are covered by insurance.

Disadvantages include:

  • you need to specify the right services - re-tests and re-analysis will increase costs
  • you may need to spend time working closely with the sampling team to ensure that the correct monitoring is carried out at the right time
  • you don't have direct control over proceedings
  • you will need to pay contractor and laboratory fees
  • you may also have to hire specialist access equipment.

Using internal resources with hired equipment

Advantages include:

  • no equipment maintenance except some attention during monitoring
  • no capital expenditure
  • having the right equipment and being able to change it if necessary
  • ensuring accuracy with the right staff training.

Disadvantages include:

  • you may need to supply scaffolding or other means of access, and power supplies
  • you must ensure equipment is calibrated correctly
  • equipment is on site for a short time only to complete monitoring
  • you need to train staff to operate the equipment
  • you need to devote internal resources to monitoring
  • you are responsible for deciding which monitoring techniques to use
  • you will need to pay for hire charges, training, staff and other internal resources, laboratory analysis and insurance.

Using internal resources with bought equipment

Advantages include:

  • flexibility - you can monitor emissions when it suits your business and as often as you like
  • you can ensure accuracy with the right staff training.

Disadvantages include:

  • you need to maintain, calibrate and test equipment
  • equipment may be a very expensive capital investment
  • you need to train staff to operate the equipment
  • you need to devote internal resources to monitoring
  • you are responsible for deciding which monitoring techniques to use
  • you will need to pay for the initial investment in equipment, staff training, maintenance, staff and other internal resources, laboratory analysis and insurance.

Using recognised equipment and services

Outside laboratories should have the appropriate UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation.

UKAS: Accredited testing laboratory search

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