Foam and the environment: once again the fire at the Buncefield Oil Depot has highlighted just how important firefighting foams concentrates are. Without them, fighting class B fires would be impossible, but even when a fire as large as this occurs, consideration must be given to the potential damage done to our environment. Foam supplier Arctic assess the balance between environmental pollution and extinguishing the blaze.(Oil Depot Inferno)

At Buncefield it was agreed that the smoke from the fire was not as damaging as the substances found in the foam concentrates used to extinguish the fire, so special arrangements were made to control fire water run off before foaming operations could begin.

The consequence of this responsible attitude towards protecting our environment meant that firefighting operations were not the first priority. Work had to be completed on providing a safe area for fire water to be collected and provision made to ensure all contaminated water went to one secure reservoir where it would be stored, ready for treatment, after the fire.

Once the fire had been extinguished a plan was put in place to ensure that only "clean" water went back into the rivers and streams. …

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