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Cost Effective Containment Systems For Your Operations

In the United States, hazardous materials are regulated by the EPA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Department of Transportation (DOT). Each organization has its own definition of hazardous materials.


OSHA defines a hazardous chemical as any chemical that is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas or hazard not otherwise classified. The EPA expands that definition to include any chemical that can cause harm to people, plants or animals when released by spilling, leaking, discharging or leaching (among other methods).

The EPA regulates chemical containment requirements under 40 CFR 264. Federal law says that a containment system “must have a sufficient capacity to contain 110% of the volume of the containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater.” In other words, you need to be able to contain the volume of the tanks, plus an extra ten percent. Some states have stricter standards, which supersede the Federal regulations.

If you’re storing hazardous chemicals, your chemical tank must have some kind of containment barrier. If a leak occurs, the containment will prevent the chemical from coming into contact with the environment and your employees.

Usually, companies use a large concrete berm to contain spilled chemicals. It’s an effective solution, if your only concern is containment. But concrete berms are a poor solution for your operations. Let's take a closer look at your options and see which secondary containment systems make the most sense.

Secondary Containment That Benefits Your Operations

In most cases, the concrete berm collects dirt, rainwater, and other foreign matter. Any chemical that spills into the berm can become contaminated and could be wasted. Berms also require a lot of space because they must provide a capacity of at least 110 percent of the primary tank according to federal regulations. Constructing a containment berm can be an expensive operation, as well. It can be a costly way to run your operations.

Poly Processing helps reduce costs with our innovative double-wall “tank within a tank,” called the SAFE-Tank®. The SAFE-Tank is a double-wall storage system that has an interstitial space between two tank walls. If a leak occurs in the primary tank, all of the leaked chemical is designed to stay within the interstitial space—preserving your chemical while containing the spill in a small footprint. 

Download the Safe-tank Guide

Safe Tank Diagram

Concrete Berms Make Poor Operational Sense

The double-wall SAFE-Tank provides 110 percent secondary containment. If the inner tank is damaged, the outer tank equalizes the liquid level. The tank can normally continue to be used for a short time, but a leak into the outer tank or any leak should be considered an issue and resolved as soon as possible. 

You can also save space with the SAFE-Tank. Because our footprint is smaller, and chemicals are completely self contained, you can store acids and bases next to each other, without wasting the space that two separate concrete berms would require. This allows you to add new equipment and scale your operations without expanding your facility. As assembly line configurations change to meet dynamic needs, you can move your chemical storage without the expense of additional chemical containment structures.

We believe that our customer is in a much better situation than with a berm, in that the chemical in a berm would be exposed and therefore require employees to call in expert clean up crews or have their people wearing self contained breathing equipment with chemical suits to empty the berm. Also the reliability painted on lining system of the berm can be an issue.

Check out this video for a closer look at how the SAFE-Tank® system works.



Double-Wall Piping

The SAFE-Tank can be double-wall piped from the tank to any location in your facility using a true double-wall bellows transition fitting. This important fitting drains the primary tank through the containment tank while acting as a secondary containment around the fitting. You can mount a 6-inch flange to the outside of the transition fitting and run double-wall piping while keeping everything fully contained.

Want a quick run-down of everything a SAFE-Tank has to offer? Download our  free SAFE-Tank guide.

Reduce Your Operational Losses

Ideal for chemicals that have dangerous exothermic reactions to rainwater, the SAFE-Tank System gives you the secondary containment that concrete berms can’t provide.

Learn more about secondary containment in our comprehensive guide.

Download the secondary containment guide

Topics: Tank Design and Materials, Chemical Storage