Management of Resources
Taking responsibility for our environment is a priority in everything we do. In this context, we review the global consumption on an annual basis and are committed to an efficient utilization of all resources.
We encourage our employees around the world to produce as little waste and wastewater as possible. Our basic principle of waste and wastewater management is based on the “4 Rs”: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.
Water is one of the most valuable and vital resources on earth. Although two-thirds of the earth is covered with water, only about 0.3 percent of it is drinkable and also very unevenly distributed. On top of this there are climate changes and accompanying droughts as well as a growing global water shortage. Given this situation, it is understandable that there is already fierce competition for this highly sought-after resource in many places. Some of our sites are also located in regions that are affected by water shortages or water stress. It is thus all the more important that we contribute to the protection of natural water resources and use the water required for our operational processes efficiently and that we do not have a negative impact on water quality.
Besides fresh water consumption in the sanitary facilities in the offices, water is mainly used at our tank terminals for cleaning tanks, hydrostatic tank testing and heating products.
To minimize water consumption, we have integrated water management into Oiltanking’s Energy Saving Program as the greatest demand for water within the group is by far at Oiltanking. We are also examining the possibility of replacing the drinking water currently used for industrial activities with rainwater, and recycling our cleaning or cooling water.
At OIL! Tankstellen service stations, older car-washing facilities – usually owned by the station operator – are gradually being replaced by water-saving models.
Efficient use is not only a priority in the consumption of water and energy, but also applies to construction and production materials. Apart from the building materials and technical equipment required for the construction or expansion of operational facilities, our business is not material-intensive.
The IOT biogas plant in Namakkal, India, only uses organic waste material such as dry poultry manure and agricultural waste. The fermentation residues produced in the process are separated, sun-dried and then used as fertilizer on the surrounding farmland.
Regarding the use of other materials such as paper in offices, we strive to use recycled material and raw materials produced in an ecologically compatible manner.
Waste & Wastewater Management
We record industrial waste (e.g. metals, packaging) as well as hazardous waste (e.g. product remnants, separator residues), which requires special treatment and must be disposed of separately. Most of the hazardous waste at our plants consists of contaminated water from oil-water separators, and residues from tank cleaning. It is collected and processed by us or by licensed contractors.
We also distinguish between “industrial wastewater” and “wastewater requiring monitoring”: the latter is characterized by residuals that remain in the purified wastewater. We use vacuum trucks to pump it off and hand it over external, specialized companies for treatment, so that this type of wastewater also usually goes on to be recycled.
All of our service stations and tank terminals use oil-water separators or complex wastewater treatment systems to process wastewater. Samples are regularly taken to monitor the functioning of the wastewater systems and to ensure that safety values are adhered to.