Adblue and the environment

Adblue is soluble in water and Environment Agency advice is it should be kept away from surface water drainage systems which discharge to the environment.

Yet most refuelling areas are not fully enclosed and therefore obtain considerable flows during windy rainfall events. As such most Sewerage Authorities will refuse to take such flows, or class them as trade flows if they do have spare capacity.

To any extent, EA advice is in favour of sustainable drainage systems for such areas. Some industry advice can be in direct contradiction with the EA advice. Some recommend “washing spills down the drainage”.

Experience in the Farming industry is that the discharge of urea based solutions can cause considerable damage to the quality of watercourses. Spilt AdBlue should never be washed down the drains.

Likewise traditional plant installations, such as oil interceptors, do nothing to reduce the pollution caused by AdBlue spillages.

How therefore should Adblue be introduced at a filling facility?

Firstly it is essential that you employ the services of a civil engineering consultant with experience of the design of forecourt/filling facilities, water quality and sustainable drainage systems. Previous experience of designing such systems and obtaining agreement from the EA is ideal. Wilsham Consulting is one of the few consultants based in the UK with such expertise.

The following steps are recommended:

  • The civil consultant should produce a full water/drainage environmental audit/risk assessment, including AdBlue background flow treatment, Adblue tank leakages and Adblue supply tanker leakages. This should include pathways and receptor sensitivities.
  • A drainage strategy should then be produced and proposed to the EA for their review.
  • A detailed sustainable drainage design should then be produced and integrated with the rest of the forecourt/filling facility design.