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What is Secondary Containment and Why Should I Coat It?

Industrial Secondary Containment Systems

What is a “secondary containment system”? According to the EPA, industries where oils, chemicals and other hazardous materials are present must have a secondary containment systems in place in the event of a leak or spill.

“A secondary containment system provides an essential line of defense in the event of a failure of the primary containment, such as a bulk storage container, a mobile or portable container, piping, or oil-filled equipment.”  (More here

Depending upon the industry, a secondary storage system can consist of portable storage containers mounted on pallets off the floor. However, if a spill occurs, there must be enough secondary containment systems on hand to hold the entire contents of the spill. Another option would be to seal the concrete floors and walls to and install a system of berms that would effectively collect the leaked materials and prevent seepage or cross-contamination with other substances in the facility. Concrete secondary storage containment systems – if the size of the facility will accommodate them – are another excellent option in case of a spill. And of course, in addition to containment, it is equally important to have adequate and readily available spill kits on hand in all areas where hazardous materials are present and in use. As with the berm option, concrete containment systems must also be coated in order to be effective – and to pass muster with state and federal regulations regarding storage and containment of chemicals, oils and hazardous materials.

Epoxy Coatings for Secondary Containment

Before coating your secondary containment system, you will need to work with a coating specialist who will assess the condition of the flooring and sides of the walls before sealing them.  The specialist will assess the overall condition of the flooring to ensure there are no cracks, fissures or seams where spillage could accumulate and seep into the substrate. If your flooring is already sealed with an epoxy coating, it is important to make sure that it is still impermeable and has the ability to withstand an oil or chemical leak. If your existing facility was not originally built to accommodate the existing processes and materials, you may need to remove and replace the existing sealant. Your flooring and sealing specialist may recommend shot blasting and grinding to remove the old coating and replace it with a material that is compliant and will be able to handle containment in the event of a leak or spill. It is required that the containment area must contain the spill for at least 72 hours. Once any necessary remediation work has been completed, you can install a system of berms that will separate and contain any leaks or spills and allow you to get the situation back under control without any contamination or harm to the facility. In New York State, containment areas are monitored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and Performance Industrial has an NACE certified coatings inspector with over 20 years of experience. Performance Industrial is a leader in secondary containment systems for industrial oils, chemical and hazardous materials spills. Serving Albany, Watervliet Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, Lake George, Ticonderoga NY with specialty services and systems, preparation and installation.  Call (518) 793-9274 for more information.