Make Sure Your Outdoor Tanks Meet These EPA Requirements

Take a look at almost any industrial facility, and you’re likely to find outdoor storage tanks somewhere on the property. They might hold water, waste, chemicals, or a number of other hazardous materials that could pose great environmental risks if a leak were to occur. For that reason, these outdoor storage tanks must meet a list of EPA requirements to ensure all proper safety measures have been taken to reduce the risk and prevent environmental contamination.

One of the most common ways to achieve this goal of spill prevention is to require secondary containment, of which there are two types:

General secondary containment: These requirements address the most likely oil discharge from a facility.

Examples include:

  • Impervious dikes, berms, retaining walls and curbing
  • Culverts, guttering, or other drainage systems, including stormwater retention ponds
  • Weirs or dam-like structures generally used with skimmers
  • Booms and sorbent materials used to recover liquids
  • Barriers such as spill mats and storm drain covers
  • Drip pans typically used with product-dispersing hoses and uncoupling hoses
  • Sumps and collection systems

Specific secondary containment: Sometimes called “sized” secondary containment, these requirements address a major container or tank failure. In general, the specific containment requirements include secondary containment sized to capture the volume of the single largest compartment or container, as well as sufficient freeboard for precipitation.

The consequences of not following secondary containment requirements can be catastrophic, ranging from environmental contamination, compromised equipment, injury to workers, expensive repairs and steep fines. The old saying, “Better safe than sorry” has never been more appropriate.

Fortify Your Secondary Containment Systems With Protective Coatings

Secondary containment systems must be treated with nonporous coatings that range from 1/8” to 2” thick. But even these thick coatings can break down over time, so it’s important to make maintenance and inspections part of your routine.

Consult with a secondary containment coatings contractor to make sure you’re using the correct type of coating at the correct thickness for the hazardous materials you’re storing. A professional contractor will help to ensure the coatings are applied properly and that they get a lifetime of use.

During inspections, keep an eye out for chipping or peeling coatings, as these can be a sign that the coating is starting to fail. Cracks should also be watched for. Small ones are a good indicator that the coating is failing, while larger cracks could be indicative of a containment breach.

Call a Secondary Containment Contractor to Avoid Costly Fines and Damage

The requirements for your secondary containment system will vary according to the materials you store, but the consequences of not following secondary containment requirements are the same: costly fines and repairs. Regularly inspecting and maintaining the secondary containment coatings on your equipment can help you to catch problems before they start, saving you money and keeping your facility safe.

Reach out to the pros at A&K Painting Company today to schedule a consultation at your industrial facility.