An interview with…Erwig Seliaerts - Former President of EFTCO

The following are sections of an interview perfomed by the Bulk Distributor Magazine in March 2013.  The questions posed and the responses by Erwig are interesting...... The following are a couple of points which you may find useful.

What further regulation, legislation to do you see on the horizon over the next few years?

We expect that environmental legislation will continue in the direction of improving discharge and disposal standards. Re-use of water and raw materials, energy recuperation, emission of green house gases and a strict separation of waste streams will be imposed in all countries.

The standards for discharge of waste water, vapour emissions and waste disposal will be reduced more and more. EFTCO hopes this will at least be done on a European level, meaning that the standards are the same in all member countries.

Looking ahead, EFTCO wants to support scientific investigation to find acceptable solutions to this problem. In Belgium CTC supports an investigation where scientists are looking for a solution for the concentrate streams produced by membrane filtration. When a solution for these streams is found, the door is open for the re-use of a major part of the cleaning water and even zero-discharge will be a possibility.

This is particularly interesting as waste disposal is fast becoming a concern of our members and was been brought up in the Nov 2013 NRTCA Meeting (minutes now available in the members area)


What are the major risks associated with the process of tank cleaning? How can these risks be minimised?

In the first place major risks associated with the process of tank cleaning are for the cleaning operators.

Not only they are confronted with a very wide variety of different chemical products, which have their own properties and risks, but due to their activities they need to enter confined spaces regularly. As we all know this is a risky business which kills people every year. A regrettable accident in a tank cleaning station occurred in Germany recently where two operators lost their lives in a tank. It proved once more that inert gas is a real assassin because you cannot see, feel or smell it.

Each time a tank is cleaned, there must be a tank cleaning procedure in place obliging oxygen and LEL measurements to be taken before tank entry. It is important that each responsible manager ensures this procedure is carried out before each tank entry. The used measurement devices must be kept in perfect condition and the good functioning must be tested before each use.

EFTCO installed a working group for analyzing the incidents and the accidents occurring in the sector. Each incident will be analyzed with the purpose to make all members aware of certain risks and advice will be given on what can be done to avoid these risks in future, or to reduce them to an acceptable level. If all this can avoid the re-occurrence of just one serious accident, then it is worth doing.


A form has been created on the NRTCA website to anonymously capture the information regarding the risks, accidents and near misses from our members. As the UK and Ireland representative of EFTCO, we ask that the NRTCA members please assist EFTCO perform this exercise for the benefit of all.

The form is now available in the member area of the NRTCA website under the Members Information Tab > Work Groups.  If you do not have a login, please request one by emailing Matthew Roebuck (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Read the full Bulk Distributors Article here