The Safety Link

Chemical plants today are designed and operated to minimize chances of the worst possible outcome, such as ex plosions, fires, and operator exposure to toxic material. On the other hand, the pollution prevention perspective tries to maximize chances of the best possible outcome, namely zero emissions.

Reducing storage, monitoring for fugitive leaks, and using more integrated facilities are compatible objectives of both those operating goals. However, in other aspects, such as lengthened operating cycles to reduce waste generation during maintenance, efforts to achieve zero emissions can increase the likelihood of unsafe incidents, such as process upsets or the episodic (as opposed to continual) release of a toxic material. The optimal pollution prevention program balances the objectives between these potentially contradictory goals.

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