AdBlue® is an aqueous urea solution used to help modern diesel engines reduce their NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions. Due to the latest EURO 6 emission regulations being brought into effect as of September 2015, AdBlue® is something that will become more and more commonplace.
For passenger vehicles, AdBlue® will generally just be topped up during a service unless they cover high mileage in which case a top up may be needed using a plastic AdBlue® container purchased at a forecourt. This may change to an AdBlue® dispensing pump on a forecourt (as more and more cars start to use AdBlue®). On the commercial side, large fleet operators will more than likely start to store AdBlue® in bulk on site to meet their needs.
Both of these lead to the potential of an AdBlue® spillage or leak, which may affect the environment (urea solutions are very harmful & polluting to surface & groundwater). Although AdBlue® is non-toxic, if spilt & not cleaned up immediately, it will crystallise upon drying. There is also the potential for it to enter open drains as well.
How To Avoid Spills & Deal With Them If They Happen
Here are a few tips on how to deal with a potential spill, as well as potentially stop one from taking place.
Firstly you should make sure that:
• Your container, pipework, & dispensing equipment are suitable for use with AdBlue®
• A secondary containment for the AdBlue® container & any ancillary equipment is available
• The dispensing area drainage is isolated from any & all surface water drains.
• If you have a trigger nozzle to dispense your AdBlue®, make sure your nozzle cannot be left in the open position.
• Make sure that you have appropriate emergency equipment to deal with large & small spills. For example, you could use spill kits, drain mats, pipe blocker, or permanent valves on drainage systems to provide containment.
• Make sure any spill kits used are suitable with water based products (ABKIT06A)
• Make sure you have an emergency plan as well as suitable training for dealing with spillages or other accidents (See incident response planning:PPG 21 for guidance to help you write your plan)
Although there are no current specific regulations that require AdBlue® to be stored in a certain manner, the environmental agency do state that if they believe there is a significant environmental risk they will use their enforcement powers to make sure you meet their good practice guidelines.
If you do come across an AdBlue® spill then act immediately. Use a spill kit to clean up any spill (& any other measures to stop the spill from spreading). Then rinse the area thoroughly with water to avoid any crystallisation.
- AdBlue® is a trademark of the Verband der Automobilindustrie e.V. (VDA). https://www.vda.de/de