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Soot part 3. disposal, carriage and bagging up.

In the previous two parts of this series we spoke about the dangers of soot, PPE, cleaning and many other things.
In today’s article we will speak briefly about, storage, removal, carriage and disposal of the black stuff.

Professional chimney sweeps are generally a conscientious bunch and care for their customers and the environment. Ironically they often take unnecessary risks with their own health such as  climbing over rooftops and exposing get themselves to dangerous chemicals. I believe in part that this is down to a misunderstanding of what soot is and how to deal with it. The climbing on roofs bit… who knows?

Bagging up

As soot contains dangerous chemicals and is generally a powder. The preferred method for bagging up should be as follows. The soot is placed in one heavy duty poly bag to around 50% full, a H vacuum bag can replace this first bag if your vac uses bags. Excess air should be carefully removed from the bag, it should then be twisted at the open end and gaffer taped sealed. This sealed bag should then be placed inside of a second heavy duty poly bag which again is sealed the same way. Finally a waterproof label should be attached to the outside clearly identifying what is inside.

Self / customer Disposal.

It is normal practice and accepted by most public authorities for chimney sweeps during a sweeping visit to leave the soot that was cleaned from the chimney worked on with the home owner for disposal.  We are making the  assumption here that the amount of soot is not excessive and is double bagged  and clearly labelled. The customers soot can then be disposed of in one of two ways by them;  either they can take it to the  local landfill site or simply wait for the bin men and women to collect during regular weekly refuse collection. Having said that this must be checked by you, the chimney sweep, to ensure that your particular local authority provides that service and that you are not at risk.

Professional disposal.

The two preferred methods of professional disposal are either the use of a commercial RED wheelie bin, which you will have to rent from the local waste management company, these are emptied weekly or monthly. Alternatively soot can be transported by you, weighed in /paid for at the local landfill site.

Carriage

If you choose to remove the soot from the customers premises it can then be classed as commercial waste, some authorities class it as hazardous commercial waste.
Being a commercial waste,you, the chimney Sweep, are now a commercial waste carrier and you must apply to your local authority for the appropriate waste carriage license or run the risk of being prosecuted as a fly tipper. Again local councils are all different, some require a lower tier licence while some require a higher tier licence.

If you carry soot in the vehicle you should  have:

  • An in date COSHH statement for soot available in the cab
  • A fitted bulkhead
  • A separated storage area to contain the soot and prevent it from leaking into other areas
  • An up to date waste carriage licence
  • Appropriate insurance to carry waste
  • Not exceed the vehicles designed weight limit
  • The appropriate PPE to safely deal with it

Additional costs

Due to the extra cost that you will incur for Removal of spoils, it is considered acceptable to pass this cost on to each customer for removal of their particular waste. This should be made clear at the quotation stage to prevent arguments later.

Some customers choose to put soot on their allotments and gardens as it helps control pests. I believe it works to control insects because of its toxic acidic nature. However, It is my view that food grown in soot is not for human consumption. Irrelevant of how good the black stuff is at keeping slugs away.

I hope you have learned some useful information from this series of articles. Our job as a professional chimney sweep is much more in-depth nowadays and we have far greater responsibility. Because of this we must strive to move with the times and learn all we can as we develop through our careers.