A key component of properly storing and transporting hazardous liquids is to have secondary containment plans in case a spill happens. There are plenty of EPA regulations on secondary spill containment, and central to these rules is having the appropriate gear to keep you and your workers safe when the inevitable spill happens.
Here are a few broad categories of tools and containment devices that you can use in your efforts to prevent the problem before it can happen:
The most obvious solution to a potential spill from your primary container is to have a second container to catch what comes out. Depending on your needs, secondary containers can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and material, usually metal or plastic. We here at Skolnik have a diverse line of secondary spill containers that are made of either stainless or carbon steel, depending on their compatibility with the materials you’re handling. They meet all applicable UN and DOT regulations, and are specifically labeled with multilingual logos for appropriate international transportation of leaking containers.
As the name suggests, these pallets raise your primary container up off the ground with a tray that has grating on top. This creates a stable platform for your container that can catch spills inside the pallet for proper disposal on a later date. These are useful as temporary solutions and for easily recovering and reusing anything spilled.
A berm, or raised strip of material, creates a barrier on the floor surrounding the primary container, thus keeping anything spilled corralled into a manageable area for clean-up. These perimeter can be permanently incorporated into the construction of a factory, or temporarily deployed at the loading/unloading site when transporting materials.
The opposite of a berm, dikes generate a perimeter by creating channels in the floor that will catch the spill. A common usage of these moats is on construction sites, where they are dug straight out of the ground for a fast and temporary solution for containment.
Perhaps the least technologically advanced option, a simple sloped floor may turn out to be the most effective method of secondary containment. The main priority of all of these devices is to pull spills out and away from the primary container for easy, safe clean-up; something a sloped floor can achieve with ease. Usually, sloped floors are incorporated into a larger secondary spill containment system to increase the effectiveness of the other spill containment devices. In fact, depending on what else you’re using, it may be required by law to use them.
Drains and Sumps
Another device regularly added into a system to increase its safety and efficacy is either a drain or a sump. A drain is appropriate if it’s safe to dispose of the liquids you’re handling in your local sewage system. If it would be unsafe to drain the liquid, then you ought to explore sumps, which function similarly to a drain, except the liquids collect in a below ground reservoir instead.
Which spill containment device or strategy you use greatly depends on the properties of the material being stored/transported. Containing and addressing a dangerous material obviously comes with different considerations and regulations than a non-dangerous good. In addition to these devices, it’s also crucial to have a plan and the proper tools to control a spill after it happens, which means the appropriate absorbent materials, safety gear and training. Goggles, gloves, absorbent cloth, and first aid are just as important as secondary spill containers when it comes to keeping your workers safe.
Spills are an inevitable part of handling liquids at the industrial scale, but if you’re prepared for them, you’ll have the best chance at keeping accidents small. If you have any questions about secondary spill containment, the regulations surrounding it, or what system is the most appropriate for you, contact us here at Skolnik and we’d be happy to help!