SERTEGO, in its commitment to circular economy and through a culture of constant innovation, has obtained the accreditation under the UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 standard. This accreditation has been granted by the Spanish Accreditation Association (ENAC), for the analysis laboratory located in the Marpol waste treatment plant Sertego Port of Algeciras.
This is the culmination of months of hard work in order to develop a proprietary method for the determination of heavy metals in organic phase present in the recovered fuel oil obtained after the physical-chemical treatment process carried out at the facility.
SERTEGO had set itself the objective of achieving autonomy in the performance of these analyses since, after the publication of Order APM/206/2018, of 22 February, establishing the criteria for determining when recovered fuel oil from the treatment of MARPOL type C waste for use as fuel in ships ceases to be waste in accordance with Law 22/2011, 28 July, on waste and contaminated soils, it was established as a requirement that the tests to be performed on recovered fuel oil to justify its end-of-waste status should be carried out by an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.
On the occasion of this important milestone, the person responsible for the culmination of this project, Maria Jesús Martin Villota, elaborates on the main keys to success in this objective.
- In your opinion, what have been the main challenges you have faced during the accreditation process?
The main challenges have been the deadline we had set on ourselves, very demanding, and on the other hand, to develop our own internal procedure not included in any Official Standard, since our analyses are carried out with matrix in organic phase and not in aqueous matrix, as standard in all the procedures in use. In this sense, the search for certified reference materials and suitable intercomparison circuits has also been an added difficulty.
- Which are the analyses that SERTEGO Port of Algeciras laboratory can perform under this accreditation?
We’ve managed to accredit the tests that we carry out on the recovered fuel, obtained from the Marpol waste treatment plant in the Port of Algeciras. Specifically, for metals included in the Ordinance APM/206/2018, as well as others outside said Ordinance.
- Have there been any particularly hard moments?
I could say that many, because it was something new that we were facing both from a personal point of view and for my team as a whole, because although it’s true that we have another company in the group with its laboratory under ISO 17025 accreditation —I mean the transfer center, physical chemical treatment plant and landfill of CETRANSA—, for the Sertego Algeciras team it was a huge challenge. There have been moments of heavy workload, for instance December 2020 where my whole team was working without rest despite the Christmas season, in order to refine the analysis procedure. My appreciation goes for the support they’ve given me throughout this process. But if I have to highlight a situation of particular expectation and nerves was when we submitted the application for our file to ENAC and we were waiting for them to set a date for the audit, as well as all the delay that the pandemic has caused us.
- Mª Jesús, what is your next challenge?
To obtain accreditation for the laboratory at our Sertego Cartagena plant.
- Summarize this experience in one sentence.
Tough, demanding but very motivating; in short, the confirmation of the technical competence of the whole team.