Complying with environmental regulations is a burdensome task that is part of daily operations at any plant. Failure to understand the consequences of this tangential yet important aspect of plant operations will in the short term bring a financial hit and in the long term carry a public relations scar.
Therefore, it is essential to understand how to efficiently comply with these regulations. Plant management personnel equipped with the right information are less likely to unintentionally allow their facility to violate its air License/permit. Likewise, they are more likely to get the most value out of their plant’s environmental dollar by identifying the hidden costs in a stack-testing project and finding the company with the overall lowest cost. Armed with the right knowledge, management personnel are also able to match the type of test needed with the type of company available.
So what are the key factors that should be considered in evaluating a prospective stack testing company? To identify a competent stack testing company the following factors should be taken into account:
- Does the company have a record of working with similar facilities;
- To ensure the company has the right quality standards in place – Is the Stack testing company NATA accredited, is the company ISO9001 accredited;
- Has the company experience in the specific type of testing required at the plant i.e Australian Standards, USEPA methods;
- What type of test equipment the contractor uses – manufacturer, age, quantity, maintenance and calibrations;
- Safety is a major issue when it comes to stack testing, it is helpful to inquire what safety programs are in place both internal and external;
- For most companies results are required to present to regulatory bodies therefore report turnaround timelines important factor when sourcing stack testing companies;
- On the business side, the client needs to evaluate the testing companies’ insurance coverage. Is professional liability insurance a part of the package?
- And finally how does the price compare with other testing facilities.
In summary, even though it may appear that all stack-testing companies operate and deliver at the same level, there are significant differences. The levels of overall quality and value need to be seriously considered when deciding on the source of important data – data that can be used to demonstrate compliance and/or data that can lead to operational changes or capital expenditures.