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Portable & Stationary Spill Containment Systems

With regards to spill containment the EPA in the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) differentiates between a containment system and a secondary containment system.

According to RCRA, a containment system consists of portable containers such as 55-gallon drums that are used for the management of hazardous substances is specified in 40CFR 264.175.

Containment System - Portable Containers (Drums)

The EPA does not use the term "secondary containment" when addressing portable containers. Instead, it refers only to containment under 40 CFR part 264.175(b). A containment system must be designed and operated as follows:

1.  

A base must underlie the containers which is free of cracks or gaps and is sufficiently impervious to contain leaks, spills, and accumulated precipitation until the collected material is detected and removed;

2.  

The base must be sloped or the containment system must be otherwise designed and operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks, spills, or precipitation, unless the containers are elevated or are otherwise protected from contact with accumulated liquids;

3.  

The containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain 10% of the volume of containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater. Containers that do not contain free liquids need not be considered in this determination;

4.  

Run-on into the containment system must be prevented unless the collection system has sufficient excess capacity in addition to that required in paragraph (b)(3) of this section to contain any run-on which might enter the system; and

5.  

Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed from the sump or collection area in as timely a manner as is necessary to prevent overflow of the collection system.

Under 40 CFR part 264.175(a), the EPA established the following requirements for storage areas that store portable containers:

1.  

The storage area is sloped or is otherwise designed and operated to drain and remove liquid resulting from precipitation, or

2.  

The containers are elevated or are otherwise protected from contact with accumulated liquid.

264.174(d) states that for certain wastes streams a containment system and storage area are required.

Under Division IV, Section 80.402(b)(2)(F), Dispensing and Use, the UFC addresses Spill Control, Drainage Control, and Secondary Containment with regard to hazardous materials, stateing that, "Rooms or areas where hazardous material liquids are dispensed into containers exceeding a 1-gallon capacity or used in open containers or systems exceeding a 5-gallon capacity shall be provided with a means to control spills. Secondary containment shall be provided when the capacity of an individual container exceeds 55-gallons or the aggregate capacity of multiple containers exceeds 100-gallons."

The EPA is more specific with regard to the capacity of containment a system needs to hold whereas the UFC addresses what situation would be applicable for implementation.

Secondary Containment System — Tank Systems

According to 40CFR 264.193 a secondary containment system is used in regard to large stationary systems, such as tanks which contain a hazardous substance.

EPA defines Secondary Containment under 40 CFR 264.193(b), Containment and Detection of Releases. Secondary containment systems are usually constructed and designed by a facility to meet the size requirements of a stationary tank they have on their premises. The EPA lists minimum requirements of how tank systems must be constructed as follows:

1.  

Systems must be constructed of or lined with materials that are compatible with the wastes(s) to be placed in the tank system and must have sufficient strength and thickness to prevent failure owing to pressure gradients (including static head and external hydrological forces), physical contact with the waste to which it is exposed, climatic conditions, and the stress of daily operation (including stresses from nearby vehicular traffic).

2.  

Systems must be placed on a foundation or base capable of providing support to the secondary containment system, resistance to pressure gradients above and below the system, and capable of preventing failure due to settlement, compression, or uplift;

3.  

Systems must be provided with a leak-detection system that is designed and operated so that it will detect the failure of either the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of any release of hazardous waste or accumulated liquid in the secondary containment system within 24 hours, or at the earliest practicable time if the owner or operator can demonstrate to the Regional Administrator that existing detection technologies or site conditions will not allow detection of a release within 24 hours; and

4.  

Systems must be sloped or otherwise designed or operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks, spills, or precipitation. Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed from the secondary containment system within 24 hours, or in as timely a manner as is possible to prevent harm to human health and the environment if the owner or operator can demonstrate to the Regional Administrator that removal of the released waste or accumulated precipitation cannot be accomplished within 24 hours.
In addition to the requirements above, a secondary containment system is required to have one or more of the following devices:
1. A liner (external to the tank);
2. A vault;
3. A double-walled tank; or
4. An equivalent device as approved by the Regional Administrator

These four devices also need to meet stringent specifications. For example, an external liner must be:

1. Designed or operated to contain 100 percent of the capacity of the largest tank within its boundary;

2. Designed or operated to prevent run-on or infiltration of precipitation into the secondary containment system unless the collection system has sufficient excess capacity to contain run-on or infiltration. Such additional capacity must be sufficient to contain precipitation from a 25-year, 24-hour rainfall event.

3. Free of cracks or gaps; and

4. Designed and installed to surround the tank completely and to cover all surrounding earth likely to come into contact with the waste if the waste is released from the tank(s) (i.e., capable of preventing lateral as well as vertical migration of the waste). The EPA states that a secondary containment system should be designed to retain the spill from the largest single container. The UFC adds to this by noting, "... plus the design flow rate of the automatic fire extinguishing system from the area of the room or area in which the storage is located or the system design area, whichever is smaller, as well as being capable of containing the flow for a period of 20 minutes."

Choosing a Containment System

1.  

Is the system chemically compatible with the products being stored?
Containment system sumps are constructed of High-density polyethylene or steel. Choice of grids or platforms depends on chemical resistance and disposability of the product. Consider: Wood platforms once contaminated, need to be disposed of according to local codes Fiberglass grids are compatible with a wide variety of chemicals, but are not suitable for corrosive materials Polyethylene grids are compatible with a wide variety of chemicals, including many corrosive materials

2.  

System Management - Monitoring and cleaning?
Most units have drains. If they don't, usually a spill cleanup kit will be adequate to clean up the internal sump area of the system.

3.  

What volume and weight of the containers will be stored?
Federal codes require that a containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain 10% of the volume of containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater. Check with your state for local restrictions that may apply (i.e., Maine requires each building or separate storage area to have containment and collection systems the capacity of which must exceed 20% of the total capacity of all containers and tanks used to store liquid wastes, or 110% of the capacity of the largest container or tank, whichever is greater).
What is the static weight capacity of the containment system. This is a weight in a stationary mode.

4.  

How often will the containment system be moved? How will it be moved?
Portable containment units are intended to be moved without containers on them. This is the safest mode of transport. The containers can be replaced once the containment system has reached its destination.
Most portable containment systems are constructed with fork pockets. These are designed to accept and be moved by forklifts.

5.  

How will the containers be loaded onto the system?
Ramps that accommodate containment systems are the easiest way to load a system. Low-profile containment systems have also been developed to address the loading issues.

6.  

How many containers will be loaded on the system?
Portable containment systems range from four 5-gallon pails to one 55-gallon drum to whole-room containment systems for drums. Make sure local fire codes are met when dealing with flammable products and the larger containment systems. There are restrictions for quantities of flammable products that can be stored in one area depending on the class of flammable product.

7.  

Are there flammable products being stored?
Special provisions need to be taken into account, such as grounding and bonding and the amount of flammable product being stored in one area. Check into local codes for these specifications.

8.  

What are the state and local codes for secondary containment in your area?
A listing of the regional EPA offices are shown (right) along with phone numbers of divisions that deal with secondary containment of wastes. For more information on state codes contact the regional office who can refer you to state EPA agencies that can explain state codes or contact your local Fire Marshal for additional information on secondary containment requirements in your area.

Summary
EPA defines Secondary Containment under 40 CFR 264.193(b), Containment and Detection of Releases. Secondary containment systems are usually constructed and designed by a facility to meet the size requirements of a stationary tank they have on their premises. The EPA lists minimum requirements of how tank systems must be constructed as follows:

Below are some related terms as defined by the EPA and UFC.

Container: Any portable device in which a material is stored, transported, treated, disposed of, or otherwise handled (EPA). 
or 
Any vessel of 60 United States gallons or less capacity used for transporting or storing hazardous materials (UFC). 

Containment Building: A hazardous waste management unit that is used to store or treat hazardous waste under the provisions of subpart DD of parts 264 or 265 of Title 40 (EPA).

Leak-Detection System: A system capable of detecting the failure of either the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of a release of hazardous waste or accumulated liquid in the secondary containment structure. Such a system must employ operational controls (e.g., daily visual inspections for releases into the secondary containment system of aboveground tanks) or consist of an interstitial monitoring device designed to detect continuously and automatically the failure of the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of a release of hazardous waste into the secondary containment structure (EPA). 

Liner: A continuous layer of natural or man-made materials, beneath or on the sides of a surface impoundment, landfill, or landfill cell, which restricts the downward or lateral escape of hazardous waste, hazardous waste constituents, or leachate (EPA).

Portable Tank: Any packaging over 60 U.S. gallons capacity and designed primarily to be loaded into or on or temporarily attached to a transport vehicle or ship and equipped with skids, mounting, or accessories to facilitate handling of the tank by mechanical means. It does not include any cylinder having less than a 1000 pound water capacity, cargo tank, tank car tank or trailers carrying cylinders of over 1000 pound water capacity (UFC).

Primary Containment: The first level of containment, consisting of the inside portion of that container which comes into immediate contact on its inner surface with the material being contained (UFC).

Secondary Containment: Systems must be:
1. Designed, installed, and operated to prevent any migration of wastes or accumulated liquid out of the system to the soil, ground water, or surface water at any time during the use of the tank system; and 

2. Capable of detecting and collecting releases and accumulated liquids until the collected material is removed (EPA 40 CFR Part 264.193(b)). 
or 
That level of containment that is external to and separate from primary containment (UFC). 

Stationary Tank: Packaging designedprimarily for stationary installations not intended for loading, unloading or attachment to a transport vehicle as part of its normal operation in the process of use. It does not include cylinders having less than 1000 pounds water capacity (UFC). 

Sump: Any pit or reservoir that meets the definition of a tank and those troughs/trenches connected to it that serve to collect hazardous waste for transport to hazardous waste storage, treatment, or disposal facilities; except that as used in the landfill, surface impoundment, and waste pile rules, "sump" means any lined pit or reservoir that serves to collect liquids drained from a leachate collection and removal system or leak detection system for subsequent removal from the system (EPA).

Tank: A stationary device designed to contain an accumulation of hazardous waste which is constructed primarily of non-earthen materials (e.g., wood, concrete, steel, plastic) that provide structural support (EPA). 
or 
A vessel containing more than 60 gallons (UFC).
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Related Info

Check with Local or regional EPA offices for other guidelines that may apply in your area.

Regional EPA Offices

Region 1: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont 
General Information Hotline: 
617-565-3420 

Waste Management Division: 
617-573-5700

Region 2: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands 
Environmental Services Division: 
215-597-4532

Hazardous Waste Compliance: 
212-264-8356 or 212-264-0504

Region 3: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia 
Environmental Services Division:
215-597-4532 

Hazardous Waste Management Division: 
215-597-8181

Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee 
Environmental Services Division:
404-546-3136 

RCRA Permit and Compliance:
404-347-3433

Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin 
RCRA: 312-353-0398

Waste Management Division: 
312-886-7579

Region 6: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas 
Environmental Services Division:
214-655-2210

Region 7: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska 
Environmental Services Division:
913-551-5000

Region 8: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming 
RCRA Management Branch: 
303-293-1513

Region 9: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam 
Hazardous Waste Management Branch:
415-744-1730

Region 10: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington 
Environmental Services Division: 
206-871-8701 

Waste Management Branch: 206-553-2782