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PCB Removal

What are PCBs?

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are man-made chlorinated compounds of great chemical stability which are slow to degrade in the environment. As well as being extremely stable, PCBs can withstand large quantities of heat, light, pressure and other influences without degrading in any way. They resist chemical and biological decomposition and display toxicity when absorbed or in contact with plants and animals.

It is due to the fact that PCBs have excellent electrical and thermal properties, in addition to the characteristics mentioned above, that they came to be used in electrical equipment. PCB was recommended for use in fire risk areas by engineers, consultants and insurance companies to produce a fire resistant electrical unit.

Where can PCBs be found?

Up to 1978, PCB was used in a variety of electrical equipment, including transformers, capacitors, reactors, chokes, rectifiers and hydraulically operated machines. In 1978, UK manufacturers ceased production of PCB filled equipment, however they continued to sell existing stocks after this date. PCB used in capacitors has appeared under many different trade names - the most common used within the UK are :

Aroclor Biclor Clophen Pyranol Disconol
Duconol Aceclor Siklonyl Hivar Therminol

PCB was most commonly used in the 1950s and 1960s when it was thought that the PCB would last the life of the unit. However, it is now apparent that after about 30 years, the PCB starts to corrode the welds and seals of the unit causing it to leak - and in some severe cases - even explode.

This becomes a very serious environmental problem when the leaking substance is PCB.

The very thing that made PCB so attractive to use in the first place, ie. it’s stability and fire resistance, have now turned out to be major disadvantages.


According to new legislation, contaminated equipment is defined as any equipment (transformer, capacitor, etc) containing residual stocks which :

  • contain PCBs
  • having contained PCBs, has not been decontaminated.

Except if the equipment contains less than a total volume of 5dm3 PCBs (equivalent to 5 litres).

Due to the definition of PCBs, the following substances are also covered, but only if they contain the substances in a total of more than 0.005% by weight (which is equivalent to 50ppm) :

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Polychlorinated terphenyls (PCT)
  • Monomethyl-dibromo-diphenyl methane
  • Monomethyl-dichloro-diphenyl methane
  • Monomethyl-tetrachlorodiphenyl methane.

SDC Industries can dispose or replace PCB legally - please contact us for a competitive quote.

If you would like more information on the disposal or replacement of your contaminated equipment, please CONTACT US.


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