Posted by Eric Boullenois - 12 November, 2018
Even though it should never happen – in industrial facilities, accidental leakage of harmful liquids cannot be ruled out completely. In order to prevent damage to the environment in such cases, these facilities have to install what is known as Secondary Containment. What to take into account here, as well as the challenges involved, is the topic of a webinar by Master Builders Solutions expert Albert Berenguel.
Secondary Containment is the name for any safeguards installed to retain hazardous or harmful liquids in case of leakage. This ‘containment’ is ‘secondary’ only in relation to ‘primary’ containment – that is, the containers the liquids are shipped or stored in. Secondary Containment is normally implemented in the form of a tank or a basin located between the area where hazardous liquids are stored or processed and the ground. In cases of spillage or leakage, the Secondary Containment is to retain the substance and protect soil and groundwater from contamination – at least as long as it takes to complete relevant counter measures.
Secondary containment: some basic requirements
Surfaces are crucial. They have to be completely impenetrable – and have to remain so even under hydrostatic pressure or when in contact with the leaking hazardous substance. Depending on the surface area of the Secondary Containment structure, impact from vehicle traffic may have to be taken into account; as do subsidence or variations in temperature, which can also exert strain on the structure and lead to cracking. Simple concrete – or, even simpler, just a brick wall – will not suffice here: A highly resistant, crack-bridging sealing solution is one of the essential prerequisites for Secondary Containment to perform its function reliably when required. Also essential is a sufficient retention capacity (volume) of the containment tank or basin. Here, statutory provisions vary across countries; most often, the pertinent legislation requires 110 percent of the volume of the largest container potentially involved in a possible leakage.
Reliable function utmost priority
For any Secondary Containment structure to perform its task reliably in case of an incident, regular inspection and effective maintenance – using checklists, for instance – are necessary. Often, such structures are rather inconspicuous in the overall environment of an industrial facility. To overlook them and neglect their maintenance, however, can have severe consequences: If Secondary Containment is compromised, the result can be ground or groundwater contamination with hazardous chemicals, which can entail disastrous consequences for people, communities, and the environment. This is why companies are required, morally as well as legally, to take all necessary precautions to prevent such damage.
Overview and specifics in webinar
Across industrial facilities, specific requirements on Secondary Containment solutions vary with individual environments and usage scenarios. In a specially produced free webinar, Master Builders Solutions expert Albert Berenguel pinpoints the many and varied challenges Secondary Containment involves. His 25-minute video presentation provides a comprehensive and detailed overview of what to take into account during the construction and maintenance of Secondary Containment structures – from the evaluation of on-site conditions, to the definition of requirements on possible solutions as well as potential difficulties during installation, to technically adequate maintenance. He also provides recommendations where to receive further support, and will be happy to reply to your questions by e-mail.