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Safety Guidelines and Good Practices for the Management and Retention of Firefighting Water

image of Safety Guidelines and Good Practices for the Management and Retention of Firefighting Water

The safety guidelines and good practices aim to support governments, competent authorities and operators in minimizing the risk of fire and safely retaining firefighting water. They are intended to enhance existing practices and promote harmonized safety standards for firefighting water management and retention, in order to prevent accidental pollution of soil and water, including pollution that could cause transboundary effects. The guidelines were developed by the Joint Expert Group on Water and Industrial Accidents - a joint group between the Water and Industrial Accidents Conventions – in cooperation with the Expert Group on Fire-water Retention and supported by the UNECE secretariat.

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Background and acknowledgements

In 1986, as a result of a fire at the Sandoz pharmaceutical facility near Basel, Switzerland, 30 tons of toxic chemicals were released into the Rhine River owing to the lack of firefighting water retention. This caused extensive transboundary water pollution, suspended drinking water supplies, devastated fish stocks in Switzerland, France and Germany and had effects reaching as far as the Netherlands (approximately 700 kilometres downstream).

English

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