Using and managing solvents

Using your solvent emissions data


It is important to manage your solvent monitoring plan carefully so that you get reliable and useful results. Use your data as soon as possible after monitoring, so that you can submit accurate and up-to-date information, and improve your processes to save your business money.

Implementing your solvent monitoring plan

To ensure accurate and reliable results you should:

  • give one staff member overall responsibility for the project, and nominate a deputy
  • define in detail what you're monitoring, including timings and methods, with named individuals to look after different aspects
  • train staff as appropriate - this is particularly important if you're using in-house resources to do the monitoring
  • set up a method of recording the results
  • agree the process with the contractor's team, if you're using a subcontractor
  • decide where the samples are to be taken - equipment manufacturers or your contractor should be able to advise on this
  • conduct trial monitoring over a period of several days to make sure the procedures work and the sampling process is accurate and relevant
  • take enough samples when you start monitoring to get meaningful results
  • follow the monitoring requirements stated in your permit

Submitting solvent emissions data

Use your data from monitoring promptly, as it will become outdated quite quickly.

If you monitor solvent emissions to comply with a pollution prevention and control permit, ensure you send it to the regulators on time and in the required format. You may also benefit from using the data for internal review, process control assessment and cost analysis.

Evaluating solvent emissions data

Look at your data with relevant staff and consider whether:

  • emissions are lower or higher than expected and, if so, find out the reasons
  • there are unexpected emissions, suggesting in-house problems such as waste, leaks or process control issues
  • you could save money by cutting solvent use, considering alternatives to solvents or changing processes
  • you are using the right monitoring techniques and equipment, and if they give you the information you need

Using solvent emissions data

You can use the data:

  • to optimise the size and cost of pollution abatement equipment
  • as part of a solvent management plan to reduce solvent use and emissions
  • within an environmental management system
  • as part of a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations assessment - you can find information on the COSHH Regulations

When you review your solvent emissions data and the management programme, you should also consider whether you can improve your processes to include solvent capture, recovery and reuse. This could help you reduce your solvent use and save money.

Reviewing solvent monitoring processes

Solvent monitoring is not a one-off process. The programme you put in place will probably need updating. You should review your results regularly to ensure you are getting the data you need and monitoring continues to do the job intended.