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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Secondary Spill Containment and The EPA

May 29th, 2014 by Lisa Stojanovich

Filed under: Industry News

In 1976 The Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) was passed to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to control the generation, treatment, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous wastes.  The EPA enforces requirements for chemicals and toxic wastes that include reviewing records and inspecting facilities.  The 49 CFR is another resource for information on transportation related safety regulations where hazardous materials are concerned. Secondary containment is a requirement in the prevention of hazardous discharges to soil and waterways where it may cause serious damage to the local environment and human life.

According to the 49 CFR 264 (c ), “Facilities must be designed, constructed, maintained, and operated to minimize the possibility of a fire, explosion, or any unplanned sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents to air, soil, or surface water which could threaten human health or the environment.”  Making sure the warehouses and plants that hold hazardous materials are prepared for any incidents is an important part in reducing damages.  This includes having the proper materials in case of a secondary spill, such as raised pallets, trays, or covers; these extra pieces help insure the safety of all those around hazardous materials and prevent contents from contaminating the ground or water supplies.

Skolnik Salvage Drums are another approved way to deal with any leaking or damaged drums.  When a drum is compromised and the hazardous materials threaten to spill from the container it is important to hold the contents in a safe and secure manner.  Skolnik Salvage Drums (used for secondary spill containment) are created with specific dimensions that allow the damaged drum to fit securely inside while also preventing larger spills by containing any hazardous materials that may come from the original drum.  When a Skolnik Salvage Drum is properly used it can be an effective secondary containment option to prevent further damage from a leaking or damaged drum.




In the 40 CFR part 264.175(b) a containment center is described with requirements that include a base free of cracks or gaps and can hold any leaks or precipitation up to 10% of the volume of the container until the material can be properly disposed of.  A sloped base designed to help drain any run off is called for if there is no elevation or other protection from contact with liquids.  Any spills or run off must be removed in a timely manner as it is necessary to avoid overspill.

Proper secondary spill containment can be the final defense against serious damage to the environment.  Hazardous materials can leak into the ground, ending up in water supplies and potentially poisoning the water.  To prevent incidents like this from occurring warehouses, plants, and shipping centers can follow the regulations put in place by the EPA for proper secondary spill containment.  Handling hazardous materials can be a dangerous job, so it is imperative everyone takes every precaution.


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