Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
This guidance is relevant if you manufacture small arms.
Bluing is a technique that prevents the steel parts of a gun from corroding.
Chemical hot caustic bluing is the main method used in UK small arms manufacture. It involves cleaning the steel and placing it into:
If you produce explosives you must have an environmental permit or pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit.
If you have a permit, licence or exemption you must comply with its conditions, including any conditions about using chemicals or carrying out your treatment processes. If you do not comply with conditions you can be fined or even sent to prison.
If you mix ammonium nitrate solutions you will produce ammonia gas, which has a very strong odour.If your activities create odours that disturb your neighbours, your local council can issue you with an abatement notice that:
Anyone affected by the nuisance, such as your neighbours, can apply to the court in Northern Ireland or the sheriff in Scotland to issue you with an abatement notice.
You can be fined if you do not comply with an abatement notice, and your local authority can take steps to stop the nuisance and charge you for its costs.
For further information on nuisance, see our guidance on noise, odour and other nuisances.
Do not discharge to public sewers, surface waters or groundwater without consulting your regulator. You may need a discharge consent, groundwater authorisation or other authorisation. For further information, see our guidance on discharges to water and sewer.
You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.
You may need to deal with substances from your bluing baths as hazardous/special waste because they have corrosive and irritant properties or are contaminated with heavy metals.
For further information, see our guidance on hazardous/special waste.
Install splash guards, drip trays and bunds around bluing baths and treatment areas to contain any leaks or spills at your site.
Mop up any spills rather than rinsing them down to reduce the volume of wastewater you produce.
Mix solutions of ammonium nitrate and sodium hydroxide very slowly to avoid the mixture boiling over the top of the treatment vessel.
Use extraction equipment to remove fumes from your work area and service your extraction system regularly.
Use de-ionised water instead of tap water to make up your bluing solution as this will produce less sludge.
De-water tank bottom sludges to reduce the volume of waste that you produce.
Cover your treatment baths when they are not in use to reduce evaporation.
Use polypropylene balls or chroffles to cover your heated tanks as this will reduce your energy consumption and emissions.
You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.
You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.
If you store oil you must comply with the requirements of the Oil Storage Regulations.
You must comply with your Duty of Care responsibilities when dealing with waste.
If the material that you are handling has hazardous properties, you may need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste. Chemical bluing tanks produce potentially hazardous liquid wastes that may have corrosive and irritant properties or be contaminated with heavy metals.
If you supply a potentially hazardous chemical, you may have to provide a safety data sheet (SDS). The SDS tells the user how to handle, store and dispose of hazardous chemicals.
For guidance about when to provide an SDS and what it should include, see the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leaflet.
If you don't receive an SDS with a chemical, you can contact the supplier and ask for one. Suppliers who do not provide adequate instructions for using their products safely may be breaking the law.
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