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Environmental accidents and crime

Environmental accidents causing danger of environmental contamination or health risks and necessitating immediate response measures must always be reported to the emergency number 112.

Before the arrival of rescue personnel, further dispersion of environmentally hazardous substances to nature must be prevented as possible. Information in case of possible poisoning is available from the Poison Information Centre, tel. +358 (0)9 471 977.

As possible, environmental accidents must always be reported to the owner of the property or site where the accident has taken place.

Environmental accidents are usually caused by releases of liquid fuels or other environmentally hazardous chemicals to the environment. The majority of environmental accidents are minor and their impact is limited in scope. For example, the environmental hazards caused by minor releases of liquid fuels and other emissions can be minimized by absorbing the chemical in some absorbent material. Liquid fuel distribution stations must always have absorbent materials easily available.

Risks of environmental accidents are reduced with norms and regulations for the handling, storage and transport of hazardous chemicals as well as with environmental permits required for high-risk operations. Environmental permits include necessary regulations for the prevention of environmental damage.

Inspections of oil tank containers

Inspections of underground oil tank containers are aimed at investigating the condition of tanks and risks of leaks. Inspections of tank containers can be carried out at any time, even when a tank is full, as usable oil is pumped out and stored for further use. After an inspection, a tank container is given a classification, which determines further inspection intervals and other measures.  

The decision by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy on regular inspections of underground oil tank containers (344/1983) provides that underground oil tank containers in important groundwater areas must be inspected for the first time in 10 years after commissioning and at 5- to 10-year intervals thereafter.

In addition, the City of Helsinki environmental regulations, Paragraphs 11 and 12, include regulations for inspections of above-ground tank containers for liquid fuels and chemicals in important groundwater areas and underground containers for liquid fuels and chemicals in other than groundwater areas.

The handling of decommissioned tank containers is regulated in Paragraph 13 of the environmental regulations.

Environmental crime

The most common environmental crime includes illegal waste dumping sites, destruction of animal nests and protected plants, and illegitimate structures at water bodies and elsewhere. Environmental crime must be reported to the police, who will contact the environmental authorities as necessary.

The costs for immediate response measures necessitated by environmental accidents and crime and the clean-up are primarily covered by the perpetrator of the accident, or by the property/land owner if the perpetrator cannot be found.

In addition to immediate response measures, environmental accidents often necessitate investigations of possible contamination of the soil or groundwater as well as clean-up measures carried out on the basis of those investigations. Such measures must be reported to the Environment services, or an environmental permit application must be filed with the services. More information on the reporting and permitting procedures is available on the pages on soil control.

29.10.2020 16:48