Waste & Spills
As we continue to develop innovative solutions for our customers, our environmental impact is a constant consideration.
We acknowledge the potential impact that solid waste disposal or spills of hazardous materials could have on the environment in our local communities. Therefore, we take a targeted approach to minimize waste, and we work toward zero spills at our facilities. We also believe that finding alternative uses for waste materials and byproducts presents opportunities to further contribute to a circular economy. As such, our waste goal is to reduce the amount of waste generated at our facilities that is not beneficially used for energy recovery or other purposes.
Our goal for reducing the intensity of disposed waste was achieved in 2016, but in 2018 we continued to look for ways to reduce waste generation and beneficially use the waste we do generate. Because a one-time sludge removal project in 2017 increased the overall amount of waste generated, we removed the quantity of waste generated from that project from year-over-year trending to provide a better evaluation of progress within our ongoing operations. Taking this into account, we reduced our waste disposal intensity by 2.1% over 2017 and by 2.6% over 2016. In 2018, we also saw 17% and 25% increases in the amount of waste we were able to beneficially use over 2017 and 2016, respectively. The majority of this increase was related to material from tank cleanings which was reused for energy recovery.
A single waste stream at one facility accounts for over 93% of our disposed waste. This stream is directly related to the production activities at that facility, and we expect planned changes will likely reduce that waste stream significantly in the future.
In 2018, we experienced a release at our facility in Franklin, Louisiana, USA, as the result of a relief valve that did not properly close upon unit startup, triggering notifications to state and federal regulatory agencies. There were no injuries as a result of this event. Corrective actions were implemented to avoid this issue in the future, including upgrading the relief valve and installing additional alarms and interlocks to prevent operation of the unit with this valve open.