If you’ve been researching your effluent discharge permit requirements, you’ve probably come across the terms “SIRA Test and Certification”, CSA Group, Environment Agency and SCS, among others. But what are all of these terms and what do they have to do with MCERTS?
Who are SIRA?
SIRA originally started within the British optics industry in 1918, offering services within scientific research. The full company name is SIRA Certification Service (or SCS for short) but most of those in the industry simply reference SIRA.
In 2009, SIRA was acquired by the CSA Group and, in May 2015 the group merged SIRA with another company to form CSA Group Testing UK Ltd.
So, does SIRA Test and Certification not exist any more?
SIRA does still exist and is the EU notified body (No. 0518) related to ATEX* activities, as well as IECEx CB & ExTL for IECEx approvals and covers, among other certifications, MCERTS. So, you can think of SIRA as the parent company that manages and issues MCERTS accreditation, but SIRA itself is owned and managed by the CSA Group. You will still see the SIRA name used widely within the industry and the CSA Group readily states that many of its client companies still request SIRA certification marks and logos in order to use them within their product labelling and literature.
*ATEX stands for “atmosphères explosibles”, which is an EU Directive covering “equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.”
What part does the CSA Group play?
The CSA Group (which was initially known as the Canadian Standards Association) is responsible for certification standards across a range of areas and operate internationally across a wealth of countries. Within the UK, among many other areas of certification, it is the provider of the MCERTS environmental certification scheme, under the SIRA name.
To complicate things even a little more (!) MCERTS is actually the Environment Agency’s Monitoring Certification Scheme for equipment, personnel and organisations, but the CSA Group is the body approved to manage the MCERTS scheme, through its UKAS-accredited SIRA arm, and according to the ISO/IEC 17000 series of conformity assessment standards.
What does MCERTS certification cover?
MCERTS is a UK scheme that ensures compliance with the EU directives regulating emissions, monitoring data, equipment and employees. It provides a robust framework to ensure consistent and safe standards for monitoring liquid flow, such as commercial or water authority effluent. MCERTS compliance goes a long way to ensuring that there is consistency of standards and accuracy of information to the Environment agency with regards to the measurement and sampling of this liquid flow.
You can view the status of your certification from SIRA, including MCERTS through its Certificate Database that shows whether a certificate is still current or has been withdrawn or suspended.
MCERTS covers areas such as product and personnel certification, as well as the quality of inspections.
Briefly, the MCERTS scheme covers a range of monitoring, sampling and inspection activities including:
- MCERTS product certification
- MCERTS personnel certification
- MCERTS for the self monitoring of flow
You can read full information about MCERTS and how SIRIS can help ensure your site’s compliance with the scheme here.
What is the Environment Agency?
Since 1996, the Environment Agency has been the UK authority responsible for protecting and improving the environment of England. It is both a licensing and a regulatory authority, issuing permits within specified thresholds and monitoring requirements, and also inspecting and regulating the conditions of these permits. It has the power to prosecute those who fail to comply with the conditions of their Environmental Permits.
If you would like to know more about the Environment Agency’s standards, permits and conditions, or to view more information about the MCERTS scheme, or to download the Environment Agency’s performance standards and requirements, please view EA Mcerts Monitoring Emissions.