Surface & Foul Water Drain Compliance

Liquid Safety Solutions for Surface and & Foul Water Drains

Set out below are just a selection of products from our wider product range that are particularly suited to the prevention of spills reaching surface water drains and foul water drainage systems.

Preventing spilled or leaking fluid from entering water courses and drainage systems is a key aspect of protecting the environment from the effects of pollution. The effects on the natural environment can be devastating and present a real threat to wildlife life and human health in the case of pollution entering fresh-water courses destined for consumption.

For businesses the costs of polluting can be crippling as the costs for cleaning up the spill will can also be accompanied by severe fines.

There are two ways to tackle the potential pollution problem

The first is to prevent pollution being able to flow into the drainage systems. The second is to attempt to recover any pollution that has already entered the draining system.

After advising the relevant authorities about the spill the next important thing is to identify the spilled fluid if possible. If the fluid is of a toxic or unknown nature advise the emergency services. For unknown, aggressive or potentially harmful substances yellow Chemical absorbents should be used but it is essential that full protective personal equipment is used and should only be carried out by specially trained personnel.

When recovering oil-based pollutants from water courses and drains Oil only white absorbents are essential. In the case of containing, blocking or recovering water-based fluid spills (milk is a good example) then grey Maintenance absorbents should be used. However, they should not be completely immersed in water as they will quickly become saturated.

Which type of sorbent should you use?

White coloured absorbents are Oil-only and will absorb just oil-based fluids. These are perfect for just recovering oil-based fluids when water is present at the same time, as the absorbent will not take up any water-based fluids.

Maintenance absorbents (sometimes referred to as Universal) are grey and/or black and will absorb both oil- and water-based fluids at the same time. So they will recover oil-based fluids like fuel but they will also absorb any water present at the same time.

Chemical absorbents are yellow. This is to signify to emergency services personnel that unknown or hazardous pollutants may be present and that extreme caution should be shown when recovering and disposing of these contaminated sorbents. All three types are made from polypropylene which makes them inert and will not react to chemicals.

Liquid spill solutions to prevent spilled or leaked liquids from entering drains and water courses

These products form a barrier to prevent the spill or leak from entering into drains.

Drain covers are available in mechanical, soft and malleable plastics, or bentonite clay. They can be moulded to the surface around the drain to prevent fluids from running into the water system.

Spill Berm is a length of flexible raised plastic with a flat base. It can be located around the perimeter of a drain to divert or hold back any spilled or leaked fluids. Interlocking ends mean that multiple spill berms can connected together to form longer lengths. As with the drain covers above the spill berm is also reusable.

Oil and Sediment Drain Guard is a polypropylene fabric membrane that sits inside the drain. It has an added benefit that as well as catching sediment and any oil-based spilled fluids it also allows water to flow through it and on into the water course.

Oil and Sediment Sock is a long tube of polypropylene material that water is pumped through. The ‘sock’ traps sediment and any oil-based fluids whilst allowing filtered water to pass through the side walls. The sock also has the benefit that is can be used multiple times until the filter material becomes completely contaminated with oil-based residue.


Liquid spill solutions for fresh and foul water drain clean-up on the surface of water

To collect and recover fluids that have leaked or been spilled on or around water there are a range of absorbent spill products available. Choose white Oil only products to ensure that only the oil-based fluids are recovered.

Pads are ideal for recovering Oil-based fluids on bodies of water as they will float on the surface. They attract the oil-based fluids but repel the water. To make the recovery as cost effective as possible unbonded oil-only sorbent is the best choice.


Rolls of absorbent can equally be rolled out on foreshores to recover oil-based spills similar to pads. To make the recovery as cost effective as possible unbonded oil-only sorbent is the best choice.

Booms and Bilge Booms are long flexible tubes of absorbent that can be floated on the water surface to surround and prevent spills or leaks from spreading whilst also absorbing the oil-based fluid. These are available in different lengths. Eyes and snap-hooks allow multiple booms to be attached together to form long floating barrages. A 13cm diameter boom is available for inshore or inland water locations such as rivers, ponds or lakes. A smaller bilge boom is also available which can be placed in water drainage courses to filter out oil-based fluids.

Sweeps are long ‘curtains’ of polypropylene that are designed to be towed behind a boat or secured across a water course to collect the final sheen of oil from the surface of the water.

Liquid spill solutions for fresh and foul water drain clean-up on on land

To collect and recover fluids that have leaked or been spilled on land near a drain the deciding factor will again be the nature of the spilled fluid being recovered. For oil-based fluids choose Oil only sorbents. If the spilled fluid is water-based, like milk for instance, then a grey/black maintenance product should be selected. If the nature of the spill is of an unknown, potentially aggressive or hazardous in nature then a yellow chemical sorbent should be selected

Pads are ideal for recovering placing over the spill to draw the spilled fluid into the polypropylene core.

Rolls of absorbent can be rolled out over the spill to cover the fluid and prevent it spreading.

Socks are long flexible tubes of absorbent that can be placed on a surface to surround and prevent spills or leaks from spreading whilst also absorbing the fluid. These are available in different lengths. As a containment sorbent these are a good choice to stop a spill or leak from spreading.

Call the Environment Agency incident hotline

Incident hotline

Telephone: 0800 80 70 60

24-hour service

Site Surveys and Spill Recovery training

To help you identify spill and leak risks we can provide in depth advice and guidance on best practise and how to mitigate against the risks. Speak to an experienced and highly knowledgeable member of our team who will be happy to advise on what equipment is best suited and how it should be used.

To allow a business’s employees to better respond to a spill we provide spill training to ensure that in the event of a spill everybody knows how to safely respond and follow a set procedure.

Absorbent compatibility chart

Use this chart to help select the correct absorbent type for a spill.