Troubleshooting Projects - The Art of Perfection

Dr Roger S Brown, Oakwood Environmental Services, Feltham, Middlesex. Tel: 07799 623891

Over the years I have conducted, commissioned, run training courses and audited Source Emission testing in many countries working with local and international teams. In general, the best testing that I have experienced, against what is often voiced, is here in the UK although it must be said that often I have been abroad where it has been suspected the testing in those countries may be fl awed, so they may have been starting from a disadvantage to begin with.

The art of stack emission testing predominantly revolves around good planning, organisation and maintenance as well as the willingness to deploy scientifi c skills in the outdoor elements or dirty dusty hot environments. This has the effect of making simple tasks much more onerous especially if we add in working at heights and what can be conducted in ideal conditions can easily double in time in fi eld conditions.

Planning Deployment

The majority of problems associated with emission tests are the result of poor planning coupled with the wrong kit for the job, which amounts to the same thing, and runs the danger of compromising the quality of the project and usually at the expense of making the job more difficult for the staff.

Over the years, it has become clear that many stack testers’

reliance on memory often fails and that when working with a team there is often the assumption that someone else packed that part/device etc.

Hence the development of checklists and ensuring that equipment such as tools and key items are assigned to particular members of the team whose job is to ensure these are fi t for purpose, maintained and working. This then minimises any blame culture from developing.

The job review sheet, project protocol or Site-Specifi c Protocol (SSP) are often seen as hindrances but in reality, they are the key to achieving the right outcome for the client. They should be developed not as a requirement to be met by MCERTS but as a tool for working out what is required prior to attending site.

What are they key elements that need to be considered in undertaking a task:

1. This must be the most important criterion: What is the client trying to achieve with the monitoring? Is it routine compliance monitoring? Or is it data collection for research to reduce the emissions, or alternatively a project to assess the emissions?

Time and again teams are commissioned to conduct testing but they fail to achieve what the client wants because the test teams are not properly briefed, or during the tendering process the business lead person at the testing laboratory/test house fails to understand the scope of the project properly. Research versus compliance has a whole different set of requirements.

This is why, when I am working with a client and we commission 11

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