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World’s largest lead refiner monitors environmental impact using MonitorPro

Britannia Refined Metals Ltd (BRM), the world’s largest primary refiner of lead, identified a fault in the effluent filtration system at its Northfleet site in Kent thanks to the predictive powers of MonitorPro’s software. Early recognition of the fault prevented the repeated treatment of effluent that would have delayed their battery recycling process.

BRM produces over 230,000 tonnes of refined primary lead and in excess of 450 tonnes of silver per annum. It also produces 36,000 tonnes of secondary lead from the recycling of lead acid batteries.

The toxic nature of this heavy metal dictates that the quantity of lead entering the environment from the refining process should be minimised and kept below the tight statutory consent limits imposed by the Environment Agency.

BRM therefore monitors a series of environmental parameters including the lead content of stack emissions, boundary lead-in-air levels and discharges to water. Its self-imposed limits are well below statutory levels.

As well as handling monitored data from effluent to sewer and controlled waters, MonitorPro is now regularly used to monitor stack emissions (lead particulates), the lead content of air at the site’s boundary as well as surface water discharges. The new software has also dramatically reduced preparation times.

Frank Boyes - Senior Environmental Officer

“Before MonitorPro software was installed, the environmental department employed Excel spreadsheets to manage the monitored data. We found this process was time consuming and predicting trends was especially difficult - it could take up to a whole day to process the data. Trend analysis allowed us to identify a problem with the effluent plant’s filtration system and appropriate measures were taken to prevent the need to retreat effluent.” 

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