Your industry news - first Number 1 for Recruitment
We strongly recommend viewing Cleanzine full size in your web browser. Click our masthead above to visit our website version.
A rail flush: solving rail's toilet waste problem
A recent feature on the BBC's Inside Out programme unveiled that one in 10 of Britain's train carriages dispose of toilet waste straight onto the railway tracks.
Following the show, professional rail cleaning chemicals manufacturer Arrow Solutions called for the potentially hazardous practice to be stopped by retrofitting older trains with sealed storage tanks. The company also explained the financial and hygiene benefits of performing correct maintenance of effluent tanks.
Rail toilet waste that currently gets sprayed directly onto the tracks is an environmental and health & safety hazard, not to mention a particularly unpleasant and old fashioned practice. Train operating companies are currently working hard to retrofit older trains with sealed effluent tanks, but the progress is relatively slow.
"Trains built in the last couple of decades have sealed effluent tanks," explains James Lomas, Arrow Solutions' national sales manager and rail expert. "The problem is that a lot of the current rolling stock is of an older generation and lacks these tanks, so the first crucial step is for train operating companies to retrofit storage tanks wherever they are needed.
"However, the story doesn't end here. Effluent tanks need to be maintained because, over a number of years, scale build-up in the tanks can make them unhygienic and reduce functionality.
"Continuous and preventive maintenance stops scale build-up and helps break down organic matter in a safe and controlled way. New rolling stock needs to be treated to avoid scale build-up in the storage tank and the toilet area. For older trains with effluent tanks, maintenance involves two steps: first, the organic matter in the tank needs to be broken down using the relevant chemicals. In the second stage, tank walls are descaled through chemical treatment."
Maintenance and cleaning is essential for train operating companies, particularly when it comes to sensitive areas such as toilets and effluent tanks. Manufacturers expect the life span of a train to be about 40 years, but only if correct maintenance is performed regularly.
5th February 2015